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8 of every 10 Spanish adolescents who play a sport do not smoke, and more than 40% do not practice any physical activity

Sports and tobacco consumption are directly related, according to a study carried out by researchers of the University of Granada, the Spanish National Research Council- CSIC, the Universities of Murcia, Zaragoza and Cantabria, and the Nuestra Señora de la Consolación School of Granada. This work has proved that those Spanish adolescents who play a sport do not smoke usually (8 of every 10), and more than 40% of the adolescents aged between 13 and 18 do not practice any physical activity.

The article Increase of tobacco consumption and reduction of the physical activity practice level in Spanish adolescents: AVENA Study, published in the journal Nutrición Hospitalaria, has analysed the relationship between tobacco and sports in a sample of about 3,000 students from Granada, Madrid, Murcia, Santander and Zaragoza, who were applied a questionnaire to get to know their habits on this matter.

According to this research work, with the participation of the UGR Professors Pablo Tercedor, Palma Chillón, and Manuel Delgado, 59.2% of the adolescents are physically active, although there are significant differences according to sex (71.1% of the boys as against 46.7% of the girls). These percentages coincide with other similar studies carried out in the USA, although the results are below those obtained in France (where 75% of men play a sport, as against 58% of women).

Girls smoke more
As regards tobacco consumption the survey has revealed that 15% adolescents are regular smokers, slightly more girls than boys. There is a clear correlation between the practice of physical activity and tobacco consumption, as 80.9 per cent of the active subjects say they do not smoke, as against 71.4% of the non-active.

In the scientists’ opinion, these results show the importance of adopting measures to promote the practice of physical activity and eradicate tobacco consumption, as it has been proved how physical activity, diet and tobacco and alcohol consumption are related to obesity, diabetes, coronary disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Whereas the practice levels of physical activity in adolescents decrease as they get older, tobacco consumption increase, which reveals the importance of adopting intervention strategies on both conducts.

This work has also analysed the attitudes and motivations that encourage to tobacco consumption among the young, such as the use of this toxic substance as a mechanism to control body weight, a method to calm down, a curiosity or a with to feel older, among others.

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
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