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Participation in organized high school activities lowers risk of smoking 3 years after graduation
Date:12/6/2007

guez will present at the American Association for Cancer Researchs Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in Philadelphia, the investigators followed 985 young adults from 12th grade through the third year after high school. As expected, the young adults who participated in high school sports or individual physical activity were significantly less likely smoke than their non-active peers. Physical activity reduced the likelihood of smoking 12% by improving the adolescents perception of their physical self. By contrast, team sports reduced smoking 18% by improving their perception of their physical self and reducing contact with peers who smoke. Remarkably, the benefit of participation was still evident three years after graduation.

In the second study 384 high school students, Rodriguez found that participation in a team sport during 10th grade reduced the risk of smoking in 11th grade by 5%. In this case, the reduced smoking was due to an increased feeling of competence in their sport and fewer depressive symptoms in students who were on teams.

Most smoking initiation occurs during adolescence, Rodriguez said. So if you can make it out of that adolescent period, and you have a sport to buffer you from smoking during that period, youre pretty safe.

Given that team sports reduces a students risk of smoking by both increased confidence in his or her physical self and by decreasing contact with peers who smoke, Rodriguez hypothesizes that physical activity may not be the key factor. Rather the students environment and his or her feelings of success keep a student from starting to smoke. A structured activity keeps a student away from negative influences. It is not inconsistent for you to be physically active and smoke, but when you are part of a team, you are just not exposed to smoking. You dont have the opportunity to do something like start smoking.

Unfortunately, the Penn researchers found in the study of 10th and 1
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Contact: Olivia Fermano
Olivia.Fermano@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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