New research shows that people who read a lot live longer. The study was carried out by researchers from Yale University in the USA. The researchers said reading keeps the mind active, helps reduce stress and makes us take better care of our health. The researchers said that books help the brain more than newspapers and magazines, but any kind of reading will help us to live longer. Even reading for half an hour a day could help us to live longer. In the study, researchers looked at the lifestyles of 3,500 men and women over a 12-year period. They looked at their reading habits, health, lifestyle and their education. All of the people were at least 50 years old at the start of the research.
The study is in the journal 'Social Science and Medicine'. It found that people who read for up to 3.5 hours a week were 17 per cent less likely to die during the study’s 12-year research period than those who read no books. Those who read for more than 3.5 hours a week were 23 per cent less likely to die. Researcher Becca Levy said: "Older individuals, regardless of gender, health, wealth or education, showed the survival advantage of reading books." She suggested people swap watching TV for reading to live longer. She said: "Individuals over the age of 65 spend an average of 4.4 hours per day watching television. Efforts to redirect leisure time into reading books could prove to be beneficial."