Health and wellbeing of recently active United States scuba divers
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Introduction: This study aimed to describe recently active adult scuba divers in the United States (US) and compare their characteristics with other active adults. The research question was: do active scuba divers have different health and wellbeing characteristics, compared with adults active in other pursuits?
Methods: The Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a proportionally representative annual survey of adults in the US. It is the largest continuous population health survey in the world. Since 2011, data on scuba diving is collected biannually. A comparison group were matched on age, sex, being physically active and state of residence.
Results: The dataset comprised 103,686,087 person-years of monthly behavioural data, including 14,360 person years of monthly scuba data. The median weekly frequency of recent scuba diving was 1.0 times per week and the median weekly duration was equivalent to two dives each of one hour. Compared with the comparison group, divers more often earned > USD$50,000 per year, were less frequently married, with fewer children in the house, which they more often owned. They reported being able to afford a doctor if needed within the previous year, but more often reported excellent/good health and excellent/good mental health, despite the divers being 16% more frequently overweight.
Conclusions: The results demonstrate a relatively healthy cohort of active scuba divers, confirming previous survey results that active divers are commonly college-educated, unmarried, without children, home owning, often overweight, they often currently drink alcohol, and smoked tobacco in the past, but commonly gave up smoking ten years or more ago.
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