Arts might boost one’s lifespan

OLDER people who frequent art galleries and museums, and attend theatre and concerts may live longer than those who do not, a study in England (英國) suggests.

University College London researchers found that people over 50 years who regularly engaged with arts activities were 31 percent less likely to die during a 14-year follow-up than peers with no arts in their lives.

Those who took part in arts-related activities only once or twice a year still had 14 percent lower odds of dying during the study.

“These findings support previous statistical analyses and anthropological work, suggesting there may be benefits of the arts to individuals as they age,” said Daisy Fancourt, co-author of the study.

The authors tracked 6,710 people who were 50 years or older in 2002, and followed them through 2018.By that time, nearly 30 percent had died.

The study’s results are in line with previous research that suggested the arts may support longevity by improving mental health, enhancing social capital and reducing loneliness and sedentary behaviours.

“Engaging with arts can stretch our imaginations,inspire and cultivate creativity, celebrate meaningful stories, provide social connectivity, build social capital,challenge us and provide exposure to new knowledge or ideas,” said Jennifer Novak-Leonard of Northwestern University, who researches cultural participation but was not involved in the current study.

However, the paper provides no insight into how arts attendance might reduce mortality.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 21 January 2020)

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