A Norwegian study has suggested that people who attend cultural events are healthier and happier, and that men may benefit most. Norwegian support for the arts already stands on the assumption that cultural events benefit health, so researchers sought evidence by surveying almost 60,000 Norwegians. Two studies had shown positive correlations between health and happiness and respondent’s cultural, sports, and religious activities–pretty much everyone who has a life–while this study focused on the cultural events, in both spectator and participant varieties.

This study concluded that “participation in receptive and creative cultural activities was significantly associated with good health, good satisfaction with life, low anxiety and depression scores in both genders. Especially in men, attending receptive, rather than creative, cultural activities was more strongly associated with all health-related outcomes.” (Abstract: Cuypers et. al. in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health) 

Even a minimum of about one event per month showed positive results. (Randy Dotinga at Healthfinder.gov)

Further studies are planned. As another observer pointed out, this study might also show that healthier, happier people get out of the house. (Dotinga quoting Shigehiro Oisha)

I also notice that researchers included both viewing and participating in sports as “cultural events.” Here in the United States, those categories are mutually exclusive. So before you get your hopes up, Cultured Women, it’s premature to claim that symphony nights produces healthier and happier men than football games–this study didn’t compare types of events–but any activity is a start. And you’re welcome to test my hypothesis that Cultured Men are fifteen times more attractive.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All Rights Reserved.