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Retail therapy doesn't just perk you up, it could help you live longer

April 07, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
  • Older people who go shopping more often may live longer, a study finds
Older people who go shopping more often may live longer, a study finds (Daniel Acker, Bloomberg )

We knew it all along. Shopping may help you live longer.

OK, that's a bit simplistic. But a study released this week in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that older men and women who shopped more frequently had lower mortality rates than those who shopped infrequently. Men even garnered a slight edge over women.

The study focused on 1,850 Taiwanese men and women ages 65 and older who lived independently at home. Study participants were categorized as never shopping or shopping less than once a week (48%); shopping once a week (13%); shopping two to four times a week (22%); and shopping every day (17%).

Shopping more frequently was linked with a number of variables, such as being male, being younger, dining with friends or neighbors, smoking, exercising often, using walking as a means of transportation -- and living longer. Shopping every day was linked with a reduced mortality risk of up to 28% for men and 23% for women.

Although it would be nice to say that purchasing things is the key to a longer life, such is not the case. Shopping, say the study authors, probably has less to do with buying power but instead may be a marker for other things that improve health and quality of life, such as having more food available, getting out of the house and walking, and socializing with friends and family.

"In shopping venues, socializing with or watching others can provide social and mental benefits," the authors wrote. "Loneliness may be ameliorated through relationships away from home in commercial venues that nevertheless provide opportunities for companionship and emotional support."

Anyone up for a life-extending trip to the mall?

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