1Faculty of Health Studies, University of Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia
2Faculty of Science and Education, University of Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
3Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, University of Tuzla, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
4University of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia
5Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia
Physical activity, sport participation, and cigarette smoking in university students after COVID-19 pandemic; Cross sectional analysis of the associations in south-eastern Europe
Cigarette smoking (CS) and low physical activity levels (PAL) are known to be risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. However, few studies have examined the associations between these factors in population of university students, and, to the best of our knowledge, no study examined this issue in period after the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the detrimental social and health consequences of the pandemic. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine associations between sport-participation, PAL and CS among university-level students in the first year after the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 761 students (411 females) from three universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, who were tested using semi-structured anonymous questionnaires at the beginning of the 2022/2023 academic year. Questions included queries on sociodemographic characteristics, CS, PAL, and sport-participation. Differences between genders were established by Chi-square test and gender-stratified logistic regressions were calculated to evaluate the associations between sport-participation and PAL, with binomized CS (smoking vs. non-smoking). One third of participants were daily smokers. Logistic regression showed no correlation between PAL and smoking prevalence for total sample (OR = 0.88, 95%CI: 0.75-1.05), males (OR = 0.95, 95%CI: 0.41-1.45), or females (OR = 0.90, 95%CI: 0.54-1.52). In addition, sport participation was not significantly associated with smoking. Results did not prove that sport and physical exercising are a way of reducing the likelihood of smoking; this finding could be a characteristic of the studied sample of participants, but could also be related to the period that was observed (the first year after the COVID-19 pandemic). Further studies examining the associations between PAL/sport participation and other types of substance misuse are warranted.
substance misuse, physical exercising, students, sport participation
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