Cultural Activities linked to Health and Happiness

A recent study of more than 50,000 people at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found a link between cultural activities and the overall health and happiness of men who participate in them.  As the mom of 2 (almost 3) sons, this is encouraging stuff! While it may seem like a foreign concept (pardon the pun) to some of the school districts that see slashing all things art or culture related as the secret to their financial stability, this study gives pause to that increasingly common practice here in the U.S.  What kind of cultural activities? Anything from visiting museums, art exhibits, concerts, films, plays, or even attending church and sporting events ranked top notch in the study for positive mental and physical health benefits. Not only did men report a higher degree of happiness with their life in general, but they were also found to be 13 percent less likely to have anxiety and 12 percent less likely to suffer from depression. According to the lead author of the study, Koenraad Cuypers, the study results held up even when researchers “adjusted for factors that could influence the results, such as age, chronic disease, exercise, smoking, alcohol use, social and economic status and body mass index.”
If numbers like 12 and 13 percent make you yawn, consider these stats that concern Americans on a daily basis:
The unemployment rate in the U.S. is hovering right around 9%.
The percentage of uninsured Americans was approximately 16.7% in September, 2010. (USA Today)
The percentage of high school dropouts is around 8%. (nces.ed.gov)
The percentage of violent crimes in the U.S. decreased by 5.5% in 2010. (fbi.gov)
Now those 12% and 13% numbers don’t seem so insignificant, do they? Imagine those positive effects on an entire population at that 12-13% rate… impressive!
To read the full article on the health and culture study, go to http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/05/24/a-cultured-man-is-a-healthier-happier-man-study
Please… share with me what you do to add culture to your kids’ lives in the hopes of raising happy, healthy adults…or what the men in your life do to keep depression and anxiety at bay.

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