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Visiting theatre, museum cuts risk of premature death by 30%


Scientists claim that enjoying arts, especially going to the theatre or a museum once every month, may cut ones risk of premature death in the next 12 years by 30 percent. Researchers at the University College London tracked nearly 7,000 adults over the age of 50 for 12 years.

They found that volunteers who engaged with the arts every few months were 14 percent less likely to die by the end of the study, while visiting museums, theatres, art galleries more frequently, that is, once a month cut the risk by 31 percent.

According to them, the research adds to evidence that engaging in art, whether playing the didgeridoo or admiring paintings, can benefit your health.

Meanwhile, academics were unable to prove going to the theatre regularly was the cause of the reduced risk because the study was merely observational.However, they believe that a night to the West End or just a local theatre could improve mental health and encourage physical activity.

Although, the link between longevity and engaging in the arts remained even when mental health and physical activity were taken into account.Lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt said further trials are needed to work out how going to the theatre could prevent an early death.

Frequency of art activities, including going to the opera, was measured at the start of the study in 2004-5, as the participants were followed up for an average of 12 years, using NHS data to work out whether they had died.The results, which were published in the Christmas edition of the British medical Journal, showed that of the 6,710 participants, a third of them (2,001) died. ‘Overall, our results highlight the importance of continuing to explore new social factors as core determinants of health,’ Dr Fancourt said.

This is the first time research has suggested engaging in the arts may halt an early death. Meanwhile, previous studies have shown those who get involved have improved physical and mental health.A review of research published in November 2019 by the World Health Organisation, showed that art is valuable for an array of health problems. The growing evidence supports social prescribing schemes – a crucial part of United Kingdom government health policy.
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