Associations of physical activity and sport and exercise with at-risk substance use in young men: a longitudinal study

Prev Med. 2014 Jul;64:27-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.03.022. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Objective: This study aims to measure the associations of physical activity and one of its components, sport and exercise, with at-risk substance use in a population of young men.

Method: Baseline (2010-2012) and follow-up (2012-2013) data of 4748 young Swiss men from the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF) were used. Cross-sectional and prospective associations between at-risk substance use and both sport and exercise and physical activities were measured using Chi-squared tests and logistic regression models adjusting for covariates.

Results: At baseline, logistic regression indicated that sport and exercise is negatively associated with at-risk use of cigarettes and cannabis. A positive association was obtained between physical activity and at-risk alcohol use. At baseline, sport and exercise was negatively associated with at-risk use of cigarettes and cannabis at follow-up. Adjusted for sport and exercise, physical activity was positively associated with at-risk use of cigarettes and cannabis.

Conclusion: Sport and exercise is cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with a low prevalence of at-risk use of cigarettes and cannabis. This protective effect was not observed for physical activity broadly defined. Taking a substance use prevention perspective, the promotion of sport and exercise among young adults should be encouraged.

Keywords: At-risk substance use; Physical activity; Prevention; Sports; Young adult.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Abuse / prevention & control
  • Motor Activity*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sports*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Switzerland
  • Young Adult