Purdue finds health benefits in volunteerism

Volunteers knitted scarves for the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

Purdue University researchers say people age 70 and older who volunteer have less age-related disease than younger people who don't volunteer.

The Journal & Courier reports researchers studied C-reactive protein levels that are markers of inflammation. The levels spike when a person has an infection or the flu, or as a person ages. High levels also can signal cardiovascular and chronic disease.

Their study found even those who volunteer a few times a year have lower CRP levels than those who don't.

The research focused on data from adults ages 70 to 85. It adjusted for factors such as the participants' health. The next step will involving examining whether there are cultural or regional differences and to see if volunteers have specific healthy habits that nonvolunteers lack.

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