A monthly trip to the cinema could cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than a third… just avoid the popcorn!
It may not be what the doctor usually orders, but a monthly cinema trip could cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than a third.
Going to museums, the theatre and art galleries can curb the disease, a study shows.
Scientists already knew that engaging in the arts could keep the heart healthy, fend off cognitive decline in old age and combat anxiety and depression.
But the latest study is believed to be the first to suggest it can also tackle the modern epidemic of diabetes, which affects more than four million Britons.
The condition develops when the body stops making enough insulin to burn up surplus blood sugar, and is mostly linked to sedentary lifestyles and obesity.
Going to museums, the theatre and art galleries can curb the disease, a study shows
The condition develops when the body stops making enough insulin to burn up surplus blood sugar, and is mostly linked to sedentary lifestyles and obesity
Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, and the NHS spends around 10 per cent of its entire £180billion annual budget treating it.
The latest research, carried out by a team from Peking University in China and Osaka University in Japan, analysed data for more than 4,000 people in England covering a 12-year period.
Volunteers were asked how often they enjoyed trips to the movies, theatre, art galleries or museums.
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When researchers matched this data with how many people in the study developed type 2 diabetes, they found regular cinema trips – once a month or so – seemed to reduce the chances of the disease by 35 per cent compared with those who rarely or never went.
This was the case even when scientists allowed for other factors linked with the disease – such as low income and poor education, according to a report in the International Journal of Public Health.
Similar results were seen in those who often went to the theatre, concerts, opera or galleries.
It’s not clear how enjoying regular helpings of culture fends off diabetes, but researchers said it may offset some of the harm that stress can do to the body.
According to the charity Diabetes UK, chronic stress can lead to a build-up of harmful hormones – such as cortisol – that may stop insulin-producing cells in the pancreas from working properly.
The subsequent drop in insulin production can lead to type 2 diabetes. In a report on their findings, the team said: ‘Participating in art activities is enjoyable, relaxing, active, stress-relieving and socially interactive.’
However, the study did not look at the impact of snacking at the movies on diabetes risk.
Previous research on the illness warned that 225g of sweet popcorn can contain 1,200 calories – almost half a man’s daily allowance of 2,500 and more than half the 2,000 recommended for women.
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