Could culture improve our health?

According to a report published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the more often people engage in cultural activities, the greater the benefit to their health.

In the study, 50,797 adults from Nord-Trøndelag County in Norway were questioned about health, life satisfaction and their levels of anxiety and depression.

Individuals who participated in the study were also asked about their involvement in two cultural fields. The first category was ”creative culture” meaning when a person sings or plays a musical instrument, and the second was ”receptive culture” meaning when a person visits art galleries and goes to concerts and the theatre.

Both types of cultural activity were associated with good health and well-being as well as low stress levels and a low rate of depression. This remained the case even when additional factors such as wealth and social background were taken into account.

The authors of the study have said the results indicate that cultural activities could be used in the future for health promotions and in healthcare.

However, the study did not look into the possibility that it could be healthier people who are more likely to participate in cultural activities, meaning more research investigating the health and culture link is required.

Spokesman for the UK Faculty of Public Health, Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, said: “It’s interesting research, probably working through the release of hormones, like endorphins, increasing the feeling of wellbeing and reducing anxiety and depression.”

View the original BBC News article.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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