"This study adds to evidence suggesting that exercise can help teenagers who are trying to quit smoking," says lead author Kimberly Horn, EdD, the Associate Dean for Research at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS). "Teens who boosted the number of days on which they engaged in at least 20 minutes of exercise, equivalent to a short walk, were more likely than their peers to resist lighting up a cigarette."
Horn and her colleagues tracked 233 teenagers from 19 high schools in West Virginia, a state with among the highest smoking rates in the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which funded this study, says that nearly 13 percent of West Virginia residents under the age of 18 are current smokers.
The participants in the study were daily smokers with other risky behaviors. "It is not unusual for teenage smokers to engage in other unhealthy habits," Horn said. "Smoking and physical inactivity--for instance--often go hand in hand." The average teenager in the study smoked a half a pack on weekdays and a whopping pack a day on the weekends. A previous study of the same group compared three types of programs aimed at getting the participants to stop or cut down on smoking. That study found that an intensive smoking cessation intervention combined with a fitness program was the most successful way to help teenagers quit.
In the current study, Horn's team looked to see if an increase in physical activity would help teens quit regardless of the type of intervention. In this study, as in the previous one, some teenagers went through an intensive anti-smoking program combined with a fitness intervention while others just got the smoking cessation program and still others listened to a short anti-smoking lecture.
Horn found that all of the teens increased their exercise activity to some degree—just by virtue of being in the study. However, teens who reported increasing the number of days in which they got just 20 minutes a day of exercise were able to significantly cut back on the cigarettes they smoked.
Horn's previous study showed that the most powerful way for teens to quit smoking was if they participated in a program called Not-On-Tobacco; it was even more powerful for boys with an added fitness component. The researchers believe that the 20-minute threshold for changing smoking behavior deserves further study.
Certainly, the study has limitations, says Horn. "We don't fully understand the clinical relevance of ramping up daily activity to 20 or 30 minutes a day with these teens. But we do know that even modest improvements in exercise may have health benefits. Our study supports the idea that encouraging one healthy behavior can serve to promote another, and it shows that teens, often viewed as resistant to behavior change, can tackle two health behaviors at once."
Additional research must confirm the key findings and prove that they apply to all teen smokers and not just those in West Virginia, Horn says. And researchers still do not know the mechanism that might explain the findings. However, she says that physical activity is known to spur the release of the body's feel-good chemicals called endorphins. One possible explanation is that those substances might help teen smokers better deal with the cravings or weather the withdrawal symptoms that often lead to relapse, she said.
The study, "Understanding Physical Activity as a Function of Teen Smoking," appears online April 9 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine.
About the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services: Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education and is now the only school of public health in the nation's capital. Today, more than 1,100 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 40 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health. http://sphhs.gwu.edu/
Kathy Fackelmann | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences