The arts are a great way to promote healthy living, according to researchers from The University of Western Australia.
"Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and disability. Our study surveyed more than 1000 adults. We found people attending arts events to be more likely to form an intention to act on a promoted anti-smoking message than those at sports events," said Christina Davies, PhD candidate from UWA's School of Population Health.
"We found that the arts have merit beyond intrinsic artistic value and are a viable setting for promoting nutrition, physical activity, sun protection, safe alcohol consumption and anti-smoking to the community."
According to Ms Davies this is good news for arts organisations. Sponsorship or partnerships with health organisations not only fits with the arts and health ethos of community well-being but could also be a source of much-needed funding for the arts.
"People who engage in community events exhibit a mix of healthy and unhealthy behaviours," she said. "In countries like Australia where involvement in the arts is high, these settings should be used to promote health to the community. We found that venue signage and announcements were the most effective methods of promotion."
The Healthway funded study was recently published in the international journal Perspectives in Public Health.
Ms Davies has a Healthway scholarship and is the 2013 winner of the UWA Matilda Award for Cultural Excellence. She has a background in psychology, evaluation, health promotion and is also a passionate visual artist.
Her supervisors are Associate Professor Michael Rosenberg and Winthrop Professor Matthew Knuiman, senior academics in health promotion and public health.