Poor Reading Skills Are Hazardous to Your Health


A new study by University College London shows a correlation between literacy problems and health problems. Adults with trouble reading are twice as likely to die within five years as adults with no trouble reading. To be fair, what the study actually focused on was the ability of senior citizens to read and comprehend aspirin instructions.

They found that 67.5% had high health literacy (achieved the maximum score), 20% were classed as medium (made one error) and 12.5% had low health literacy (got two, one or no questions correct).

In the study, almost half of the adults aged over 80 could not correctly answer all four questions, compared to one-quarter of the adults aged 60 or less.

So maybe it's not quite as simple as saying read now, stay healthy when you're older — but it can't hurt. (You're already reading a blog, which is definitely a step in the right direction.) While there's a common sense aspect to saying people who can read and understand the instructions on their medication live longer, the study also showed a link between poor health literacy and depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

Of course, many of us don't bother reading pill bottles. The "no" symbol through the booze symbol usually tells the whole story.

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