Developing adequate reading skills could have a lifelong pay-off. A study of 3,260 Medicare patients found that those without basic “health literacy,” or the ability to understand patient information and make decisions based on it, were more likely to die sooner than their more-literate counterparts. Even taking into account overall education and other social factors, the study, which took place over more than five years, concluded that inadequate reading skills were the highest factor in determining mortality rates. The authors of the study cited that education levels in general have long been considered important in determining lifespan. As for why schooling seems to be a factor, researchers say that more education tends to lead to better jobs, housing, food, and health care.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.