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If you want better health and a lower risk of suffering from depression, get thee to an art gallery. Or a museum or theatre. Or paint, create or play an instrument yourself, say Norwegian researchers writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

You heard right. Apparently the researchers quizzed more than 50,000 people – in Norway, I assume – and discovered men who go to concerts and exhibitions and the like are healthier and have more upbeat moods than those who don’t go in for passive cultural activities. Women, on the other hand, are served better by the arts if they get actively involved – so, for instance, the study suggests women who create art or play music are less likely to be unhealthy or depressed. Overall, engaging in cultural activities, the researchers suggest, reduces your risk of anxiety and depression, while cultural activities in general are significantly associated with life satisfaction and good health.

Blimey, they should offer theatre tickets or life drawing classes – to name a couple of examples off the top of my head – on the NHS, shouldn’t they?

Of course you could always try moving to my home town of Brighton, where almost everyone is involved in some sort of artistic pursuit (and if they’re not an artist or a type of craftsperson, they’re probably practising one complementary health therapy or another, which in itself has to be pretty life affirming). This week, funnily enough, is the last week of the month-long Brighton Festival, which is so brimming with ridiculously healthy people, it should be declared a health spa.

So there you have it. Art boosts health. Riskfactorphobes, take note.