Regular shoppers 'may live longer'
Shopping regularly can help people to live longer, a study has suggested.
Scientists in Taiwan found that older men and women who went out shopping frequently tended to outlive those who went less often, even when other factors were taken into account.
Those who shopped every day were 27% less likely to die within the 10-year study period compared to those who never shopped, or who went shopping less than once a week.
The study, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, showed that older men were particularly likely to benefit from regular retail therapy, with a 28% reduction in mortality risk compared to 23% for women.
It concluded: "Shopping captures several dimensions of personal wellbeing, health and security as well as contributing to the community's cohesiveness and economy, and may represent or actually confer increased longevity."
The researchers analysed responses from nearly 1,850 Taiwanese people aged 65 or over who were surveyed on their health and lifestyles in 1999/2000, and matched them to deaths recorded between 1999 and 2008.
Participants were asked how often they went shopping, with options from "never" - selected by 48% of respondents - to "every day", chosen by 17%. Their intellectual and physical capacities, age, gender, education, ethnicity, financial and employment status, lifestyle factors and the prevalence of long-term conditions were also factored in.
The authors of the study acknowledged that shopping could reflect people having good health to begin with. They said: "An elder who shops less for food would be at risk of poorer diet quality necessary to maintain health. A vicious cycle that involves limited shopping and poor diet could evolve for elders."
However, the authors added: "Every day shoppers had a favourable survival even with control for functional health. It is possible that daily shopping might have a direct impact on survival."
The research was conducted by members of the Institute of Population Health Sciences and National Defence Medical Centre in Taiwan, and the Asia Pacific Health and Nutrition Centre in Australia.