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Club Participation Is Healthy for Most Adolescents

Teens involved in at least one club are less likely to start smoking or become heavy drinkers

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In adolescents, participation in formal clubs is associated with positive health behavior and should be prompted, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Andrea Zambon, M.D., of the University of Turin in Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2005 to 2006 Health Behavior in School-Aged Children study conducted in children aged 11, 13, and 15 years in 41 countries.

Overall, the researchers found that club participation was associated with improved outcomes in self-perceived health, well-being and symptoms, along with health-related behaviors such as smoking and drinking. Although they found that participation in sports, political, and youth clubs increased the likelihood of having been drunk, and that participation in cultural and religious groups decreased this likelihood, they found that participation in either one club or more than one club was associated with a decreased likelihood of drunkenness (odds ratios, 0.82 and 0.74, respectively).

"Teachers and parents have a role to play in understanding the motivations for getting involved -- proper involvement of young people that supports their role in creating and managing clubs provides the best possible chance for enhancing larger social networks, which are health-promoting irrespective of a young person's social background," the authors conclude.

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