Jan 6, 2016 5:50 PM

No, really: Harvard study shows it really is better to give than receive


The saying goes it's better to give than to receive, and now a Harvard study is backing that up.

Researchers say their study finds volunteering is associated with better physical and mental health, and that volunteers have better health habits. They studied more than 7,000 adults aged 50 and older.

Researchers found that volunteers were more likely to engage in preventive health care than non-volunteers. for example, volunteers were 47% more likely to get cholesterol checked, and 30% more likely to get flu shots. They were more likely to get various cancer screenings, and had 38% fewer overnight hospital visits than non-volunteers.

That association persisted even after researchers controlled for a wide range of other factors including baseline health, health behaviors, social integration, stress, and personality traits.

researchers say one of the possible explanations is that volunteering increases a sense of purpose in life, which has been seen to be a driving factor for a lot of positive health outcomes. volunteering also increases social connections, which have been linked to better health. Click here for a link to volunteer opportunities in your area.

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