A new study finds that eating out has no statistically significant effect on health outcomes, but dining halls can still be a useful health resource for many people.
The study by researchers at the University of Cambridge and University of New South Wales looked at the health of 2,000 adults over a period of four years.
The researchers found that people who regularly attended a cinema were three times more likely to have an abnormal BMI (body mass index) than people who did not.
The BMI is a measure of a person’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in metres squared.
Those who ate out had a 2.5-fold increased risk of having an abnormal weight, while those who ate in restaurants had a 10.5 percent increase.
These people tended to be older, poorer and more likely have other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
“We found no evidence that attending a cinema improves health or life expectancy, and in fact it was linked with an increased risk for premature death,” the researchers wrote.
“However, we conclude that this may be due to the fact that many of the films and cinemas featured in this study are designed to encourage social interactions and are therefore a more effective alternative to eating out.”
Other studies have linked moviegoing to an increased BMI and risk of death.
One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that individuals who went to the movies were twice as likely to die as those who didn’t.
Another study found that in the US, those who attended a movie were eight times more than those who watched television.
A study in the American Journal of Public Health found those who were overweight were five times more at risk of dying from heart disease than those of normal weight.
The findings of the new study were published online in the journal Epidemiology.