Physical activity and risk behaviour in adolescents- smoking and consumption of alcohol in youth sport

Por: Hans Peter Brandl-bredenbeck.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The forms of risk behaviour in modern societies are multifaceted and are predominantly existing in adolescents. In the current discussion risk behaviour in adolescents is described on the one hand side as having the potential to open up new chances and on the other side as threatening health and social integrity. With regard to this discussion physical activity is often seen as a moderating variable, which can help to reduce risk behaviour.


Findings of a meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in German speaking countries try to answer the question whether participation in physical activities can help to reduce psychoactive drug taking as a form of risk behaviour (smoking and consumption of alcohol)


As to the relationships between sporting activities and legal drugs such as alcohol and nicotine the results can be summed up as follows: The effect of sport is ambivalent. One part of young people appears to benefit from their involvement in sport, whereas the other part is attracted by sporting milieus which are not able to reduce young people’s risk behaviour.

Discussion/ Conclusions

With reference to the mental and social development of young people recommendations are given which might support sport organisations and sport politics in their endeavours to implement and evaluate preventive intervention programs for youth at risk.


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