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Coached extracurricular activities may help prevent pre-adolescent smoking and drinking
Date:4/30/2014

Dartmouth researchers have found that tweens (preadolescents aged 10-14) who participate in a coached team sport a few times a week or more are less likely to try smoking. Their findings on the relationship between extracurricular activity and health risk behaviors are reported in "The relative roles of types of extracurricular activity on smoking and drinking initiation among tweens," which was recently published in Academic Pediatrics.

"How children spend their time matters," said lead author Anna M. Adachi-Mejia, PhD, a member of Norris Cotton Cancer Center's Cancer Control Research Program. "In a nationally representative sample we found that tweens who participate in sports with a coach were less likely to try smoking. Parents and guardians may think that tweens need less adult supervision when they are not in school. However, our research suggests that certain coached extracurricular activities can help prevent tween smoking and drinking."

Researchers conducted a telephone survey of 6,522 US students between 10 and 14 years old in 2003 to determine if the influence of any kind of sport, versus sports where a coach is present, would be associated with risk of smoking and drinking. They developed a novel approach to examine the relation between extracurricular activities and adolescent smoking and drinking. Measures included participation in team sports with a coach, other sports without a coach, music, school clubs, and other clubs. A little over half of the students reported participating in team sports with a coach (55.5 percent) and without a coach (55.4 percent) a few times per week or more. Many had minimal to no participation in school clubs (74.2 percent); however, most reported being involved in other clubs (85.8 percent). A little less than half participated in music, choir, dance, and/or band lessons. Over half of participants involved in religious activity did those activities a few times per week or more.

The study found th
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Contact: Robin Dutcher
robin.Dutcher@hitchcock.org
603-653-9056
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Source:Eurekalert

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