Study: Arts and cultural activities are benefical for health

STOCKHOLM (dpa)- Cultural and creative activities such as dancing and singing or museum visits can have a positive effect on physical and mental health, a European health agency said on Monday.
Music and singing has for instance proved helpful in improving attention and memory for people suffering from dementia, the Copenhagen-based World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for Europe said.

The findings were based on a study of over 900 publications on the benefits arts have from childhood to adulthood and old age.
"The examples cited ... show ways in which the arts can tackle 'wicked' or complex health challenges such as diabetes, obesity and mental ill health," said Piroska Ostlin, interim WHO regional director.
Listening to music has been found to help control blood glucose levels during ordinary and stressful situations in people with or without diabetes, the report said. 
Findings suggest that young children whose parents read to them before bedtime have "longer night-time sleep and better concentration at school," according to the report.
Listening to music or doing handicrafts can also be useful in health-care settings and supplement or enhance treatment. This included the reduction of some "side effects of cancer treatment, including drowsiness, lack of appetite, shortness of breath and nausea."
The five categories of arts were: Performing arts (music, dance, singing, theatre), visual arts (crafts, painting, photography), literature (writing, reading), culture (visiting museums, concerts, theatre), and online arts.
The English- and Russian-language publications studied dated from January 2000 to May 2019.
The Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report on arts and health was launched in Helsinki, Finland.

Monday, November 11th 2019

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