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January 2022

Attendance at cultural events and physical exercise and health: a randomized controlled study

Author(s): Bjorby, N., Bygren, L. O., Weissglas, G., Karlsson, L. G., Widmark, M.

Journal/Book: Public Health. 2000; 114: Houndmills, Basingstoke Rg21 6xS, Hampshire, England. Nature Publishing Group. 316-319.

Abstract: The aim of this study was to assess the specific biomedico-social effects of participating in cultural events and gentle physical exercise effects apart from the general effect of participating in group activities. This was a randomized controlled investigation using a factorial design, where attending cultural events and taking easy physical exercise were tested simultaneously. The 21 participants, aged between 18 and 74y were from a simple random sample of people registered as residents in Umea, a town in northern Sweden. Among the 1000 in the sample, 21 individuals (11 men, 10 women) were recruited into the experiment. Two out of the 21 subjects dropped out and were discounted from our analysis. Nine people were encouraged to engage in cultural activity for a two-month period. Diastolic blood pressure in eight of these nine was significantly reduced following the experiment. There were no marked changes observed in either systolic or diastolic blood pressure in those not required to engage in any form of extra-cultural activity. A decrease in the levels of both adrenocorticotropical hormone (ACTH) and s-prolactin was observed in culturally stimulated subjects, whereas the average baseline s-prolactin level of 7 ng/l for the non-culturally stimulated group was unchanged after the experiment. Physical exercise produced an increase in the high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level and in the ratio of HDL to LDL (low density lipoprotein). It was concluded that cultural stimulation may have specific effects on health related determinants.

Note: Article Bygren LO, Umea Univ, Dept Social Med, S-90185 Umea, SWEDEN

Keyword(s): cultural events; physical exercise; stimulation; environmental enrichment; health; BINDING; MUSIC; RATS

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