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Poor Exercise Habits Linked to Alcohol Abuse

Poor Exercise Habits Linked to Alcohol Abuse

A new large-scale survey of African-American men and women discovered a strong association between a failure to exercise and alcohol abuse.

Researchers found that those who rarely or never exercised had about twice the odds of abusing alcohol than those who exercised frequently. Investigators believe this finding may have implications across all groups.

In the survey of 5,002 African-American men and women, investigators found that those who did not engage in physical activity at all or only occasionally had nearly double the chance — between an 84 percent and 88 percent higher odds — of abusing alcohol than those who regularly engaged in some form of physical activity.

The finding was after adjusting for demographic factors such as income and neighborhood characteristics.

Survey participants were drawn from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL), a study that took place between 2001 and 2003 and aimed to identify racial and ethnic differences in mental disorders and other psychological distress, including those used by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The study used the DSM-IV definition of alcohol abuse, which is defined as drinking that has negative social, professional, and/or legal consequences.

The survey finding was presented at a recent American Public Health Association meeting in Chicago.

“There have been studies of the association between substance use and related comorbid health conditions, such as depression and anxiety,” notes April Joy Damian, a doctoral student in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study’s author.

“There has been little research that has examined the connection between exercise and decreased odds of alcohol use disorder.

“Because the NSAL study was essentially a snapshot that was taken at one point in time, we can’t say that engaging in physical activity will prevent people from developing alcohol use disorder or that alcohol use disorder can be treated with physical activity,” Damian says.

“Given that alcohol use disorder has a high rate of co-occurrence for depression and anxiety, it merits further study all around, for African Americans as well as others. We should consider how physical activity contributes to alcohol-related behavior and design interventions for people who are at risk.”

Source: Johns Hopkins University/EurekAlert
Man drinking photo by shutterstock.

Poor Exercise Habits Linked to Alcohol Abuse

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Poor Exercise Habits Linked to Alcohol Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 4 Nov 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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