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      A Chapter a Day – Association of Book Reading with Longevity

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          Abstract

          Although books can expose people to new people and places, whether books also have health benefits beyond other types of reading materials is not known. This study examined whether those who read books have a survival advantage over those who do not read books and over those who read other types of materials, and if so, whether cognition mediates this book reading effect. The cohort consisted of 3635 participants in the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study who provided information about their reading patterns at baseline. Cox proportional hazards models were based on survival information up to 12 years after baseline. A dose-response survival advantage was found for book reading by tertile (HR T2 = 0.83, p<.0001, HR T3 = 0.77, p<.0001), after adjusting for relevant covariates including age, sex, race, education, comorbidities, self-rated health, wealth, marital status, and depression. Book reading contributed to a survival advantage that was significantly greater than that observed for reading newspapers or magazines (t T2 = 90.6, p<.0001; t T3 = 67.9, p<.0001). Compared to non-book readers, book readers had a 4-month survival advantage at the point of 80% survival. Book readers also experienced a 20% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow up compared to non-book readers. Cognitive score was a complete mediator of the book reading survival advantage (p=.04). These findings suggest that the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          8303205
          7517
          Soc Sci Med
          Soc Sci Med
          Social science & medicine (1982)
          0277-9536
          1873-5347
          29 October 2016
          18 July 2016
          September 2016
          01 September 2017
          : 164
          : 44-48
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Yale University School of Public Health, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06510. Masters in Chronic Disease Epidemiology
          Author notes
          Correspondence to: fax: 203-785-6980, phone; 203-785-2869, becca.levy@ 123456yale.edu
          Article
          PMC5105607 PMC5105607 5105607 nihpa805826
          10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.07.014
          5105607
          27471129
          e5f191fc-7292-4343-88bd-35150cff9d1a
          History
          Categories
          Article

          mortality,aging,longevity,reading,cognition
          mortality, aging, longevity, reading, cognition

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