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Lower Risk of Needing Treatment for Alcohol Misuse if you are Active

More physical activity throughout one’s lifetime has been found to reduce the need for treatment of alcohol misuse, concludes a new study from Denmark.

The study followed a group of adults for 20yrs and found that those who were more active in their free time were less likely to need treatment or hospitalization for alcohol misuse.

Researcher are unsure of the relationship between exercise and the lower risk of needing treatment for an alcohol disorder but there is defiantly a positive link between the two, as Dr. Ulrik Becker of the National Institute of Public Health at the university of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen, co-author of the report, tells Reuters Health.

“Although we and for that matter others have not proven a casual relationship between physical activity and the risk of developing alcohol use disorders, it is likely there is a casual link”

“We know from other studies that physical activity reduces the risk of other psychiatric problems… as well as studies that seem to show that physical activity increases the benefit of treatment in alcohol use disorder patients.

Researchers sent out 4 surveys to more than 18,000 adults in Copenhagen between 1976 and 2003. The survey divided those questioned into three groups High, Low and Sedentary, based on time spent on leisure activities per week; High activity level 4+ hrs per week, Low activity level of 2-4hrs per week and Sedentary.

The questionnaire responses were then linked to the national patient registries of all people given outpatients treatment or those who were hospitalized for alcohol misuse in Denmark throughout 2011.

50% of respondents reported that they complete high levels of activity per week. 736 (4%) of people questioned had been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder.

People who reported low levels of exercise were 30-40% less likely to be diagnosed with alcohol misuse disorder than those in the sedentary group.

Those in the sedentary group had a higher risk of needing treatment for an alcohol disorder at some point in their life, the study found.

“These results strengthen the general recommendation of increased physical activity and add to the long list of beneficial effects of physical activity” said Becker.

Source: Kathryn Doyle - Reuters Health

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