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Learning is good for your health, says Minister


Older people in learning feel better about themselves and their health, tend to lead an active life and are more self-confident, according to independent research published today.
Announcing a competition to find Britain’s oldest learner at a research seminar of the new findings, Minister for Announcing a competition to find Britain's "oldest learner", the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Malcolm Wicks presented the results of a recent study by the Institute of Employemnt Studies.

The Institute interviewed a sample of 'older' people aged 50 to 71 to reveal:

* 74 per cent who said their health was excellent or very good, were engaged in some form of learning;
* 80 per cent of learners reported a positive impact of learning on either life enjoyment, self-confidence, self-esteem, or through satisfaction with other areas of their lives or their ability to cope;
* 42 per cent reported increased willingness to take responsibility for their lives and greater self-confidence;
* 28 per cent reported more involvement in social, community or voluntary activities as a result of learning; and
* Older learners, particularly those in poor health, reported the positive impact of learning on their lives. Ill health was a barrier to learning. However a higher proportion of people with poor health who did some form of learning reported improved self - confidence, an ability to cope and better life satisfaction compared to those in good health.

The Minister launched a new promotional campaign to find Britain's oldest active learner - it will be interesting to see how such learning is defined! - and commented: "Retirement should be the new learning age."


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