Shop 'Til You Drop

Photo: mikeleeorg

A new study surveying elderly Taiwanese men and women shows that senior citizens who engage in daily shopping are likely to live longer than their counterparts:

Elderly who shopped every day have 27% less risk of death than the least frequent shoppers. Men benefited more from everyday shopping than women with decreased hazard ratio of 28% versus 23% compared to the least….Shopping behavior favorably predicts survival.

The study selected participants based on demographics, socioeconomic status, health, shopping frequencies, physical and cognitive functions. The data was then linked to death records, relating shopping frequency to mortality data. Two benefits for long(er) life as a result of engaging in shopping are physical activity and social interaction, both big contributors to longevity.


Is it possible that the causality in this case is the other way around? I mean, healthier people are obviously more likely to do more 'active' stuff, like shopping and having more social interactions, simply because sicker people have an incentive not to do those things, for example pains and other sufferings.


I agree with Dusan. It appears that there's a mistake in the correlation-causation argument here. Elderly people in better health are more likely to be willing and able to go shopping, unlike there ill and bed-ridden counterparts.


I'd reword this slightly, to say that "good health favorably predicts shopping behavior."

Edward Kovarski

The verbiage is misleading. To me it sounds like they've proven what is already known which is that moderate physical activity, e.g. walking, and the use of your cognitive skills help prolong the quality of life.

The study would have also been more palatable if it was not specific about shopping as I agree with Dusan, people who are healthier will enjoy a more active lifestyle whether it is going for walks, meeting up with friends, meeting new people, exploring new hobbies, etc. vs people who would to enjoy a more active lifestyle but can't due to joint pain, existing conditions, etc.


I think the study overlook the importance of CONTROL and FREEDOM (=happiness). Eldery who shop everyday get to make more financial decisions. They probably have more control over other aspects of their life as well.


My first thought was that daily shoppers would be eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well. I suppose that these shoppers are pedestrians, not car drivers, so the fabled 15 minutes of walking needed every day for continued health are an added bonus.

Mark Kerrigan

Does shopping mean you necessarily buy something? If you have the money to spend money everyday, wouldn't you likely have better access to better health care?


I suppose if you're buying fresh food to cook everyday you're getting exercise AND better nutrition! Fresh food would be the main reason for daily shopping is my guess...