A study of the relationships between sport practice and health issues among college students: Effects of gender on eating disorders and substance use
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Alternative title: Étude des liens entre la fréquence de pratique sportive et la santé des étudiants : mesure des effets de genre sur les troubles alimentaires et les consommations de substances
A number of previous studies have focused on the effect of sport practice on eating disorders and substance use. Most of these studies suggest that among students sport practice is related to low levels of health issues like eating disorders and substance use. However, there is a relative dearth of evidence for these relationships and previous findings are based on comparisons between people involved in sport practice and physical activity and sedentary or largely inactive people. The present study aims to test the effects of frequency of sport practice on college students' eating disorders and substance use when also controlling for gender effects. Methods: One thousand and seventy-three first year college students (35.6% boys, 64.4% girls) volunteered to participate in the study. Participants were divided into three groups according to the frequency of their sport practice: students who rarely participated in sport practice (less than one hour a week and not every week; 406 students, 26.4% boys vs 73.6% girls), students who frequently participated in sport practice (every week but less than eight hours a week; 173 students, 33.5% boys vs 66.5% girls), and students who had intensive sport practice (eight hours a week or more; 494 students, 43.9% boys vs 56.1% girls). Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use were assessed using the Alcohol Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST). Three different categories of eating disorders (Dieting, Bulimia, Oral control) were assessed using the EAT-26 inventory. ANOVAs were computed to test for gender differences across the three sport practice groups. Results: Results of univariate ANOVAs revealed main effects for gender and sport practice on some of the substance use and eating disorder variables, ANOVA with multiple comparisons (Tamhan T Test) revealed a significant interaction effect of sport practice and gender on oral control and tobacco use. For girls, oral control and tobacco use do not vary within the three groups of sport practice whereas for boys the more frequent the sport practice, the lower their scores on oral control and tobacco use. For oral control, boys reported significantly higher scores than girls only when sport practice was rare. For tobacco use, boys reported significantly higher scores than girls when sport practice was rare and lower scores when sport practice was intensive. Conclusion: These results suggest that the positive effects of sport practice vary by gender and that the campaigns for promotion of physical activity might assist in the prevention of health issues amongst students but should be adapted according to the gender of the participants. © 2014.
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