Young adults have the highest participation in physical activity but also have the highest incidence rates of binge drinking, cigarette smoking, and smokeless tobacco use. We examined these factors to determine whether there are relationships among physical activity and health risk behaviors.
We conducted correlation and χ2 analyses using the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment fall 2009 data set (N = 34,208) to examine the relationship among meeting physical-activity guidelines, binge drinking, and tobacco use among survey participants.
The data suggest a positive relationship between meeting physical-activity guidelines and binge drinking, with the strongest relationship between those reporting binge drinking 4 times in a 2-week period. Meeting physical-activity guidelines was negatively associated with cigarette use but positively associated with all other types of tobacco use.
Associations between physical activity and binge-drinking episodes indicate a need to address the relationship between heavy drinking and alcohol dependence and physical-activity behavior patterns. Further studies should examine relationships between physical activity and binge drinking in other age groups. Results also suggest the need to examine differing associations between physical activity and types of tobacco use.