How giving back boosts your health
No matter where the charitable donation is made, the biggest benefactor might be the person giving it, according to a recent study.
Researchers at the University of Albany found that giving to charity is connected to better overall health, and specifically lowers to chances of having high blood pressure, lung disease and arthritis.
The researchers set out to prove that there was a “return” on giving. They analyzed survey data from the University of Michigan’s Panel Study of Income, focusing on household charitable donations and the self-reported health status. They found that those who donated scored, on average, a full point higher on a five-point health scale.
In the group who gave to charity, less than 1 percent reported having poor health, while 36.6 percent reported excellent health. In the group who didn’t donate, 4.9 percent reported having poor health and 20.5 percent reported having excellent health.
The study also surmised that because tax subsidies predict charitable giving and charitable giving predicts health status, more tax subsidies might lead to improved health overall.
“My findings imply that further expansions in tax subsidies for charitable giving would positively affect the health status of individuals in the U.S., but more research is needed,” Baris Yoruk, economist at the University of Albany told the Wall Street Journal. The study was published in the Journal of Economic Psychology.
Tax policy aside, helping others has long been connected to improved health, says Dr. Jennifer DeBruler, an Advocate Medical Group physician on staff at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.
“Whether you’re donating money or your time as a volunteer, helping others feels good,” she says. “That kind of purpose or positive emotional state has a wide range of health implications, all of them positive.”
Join Advocate Health Care and the rest of the nation in doing something very special for those in need today, which is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. This year, Advocate Children’s Hospital is a proud partner in this national effort where people across the country give back to those who need it most.
Click here for details on how you can make a difference in the lives of the young patients we are privileged to serve.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.