Treatment-Seeking Alcohol and Cocaine Dependent Individuals with High BMIs and below Average Fitness Levels


Participation in sports and exercise has been shown to help prevent the development of substance use and abuse among adolescents. The protective mechanisms may involve mood, self-efficacy or simply the incompatibility between peak athletic performance and acute intoxication. In addition, prior research has found that aerobic exercise is useful for reducing tension and stress during recovery from substance use disorders (Read & Brown, 2003). However, fitness and exercise levels among substance-dependent individuals have not yet been examined. As such, we chose to characterize baseline exercise and fitness levels for individuals entering outpatient substance abuse treatment as a prelude to examining activity, weight and other health changes during outpatient treatment. The NASA/Johnson Space Center Physical Activity Rating (PA-R) scale was developed to provide an estimate of a participant’s fitness level using a self-reported regular physical activity, along with height, weight, age and gender (George et al., 1997). The PA-R was administered to 109 consecutively screened treatment-seeking individuals with cocaine, alcohol, or combined cocaine and alcohol (CAD) dependence. Additional data on height and weight, gender and race were gathered. Overall, fitness levels were below average for all subjects, and mean BMI was 29.24, with 43 (39.45%) subjects classified as obese, 44 (40.37%) as overweight and only 22 (20.18%) as normal weight. PA-R findings indicate that fitness levels for participants were average or below. Taken together, findings indicate that there is substantial room for improving fitness and exercise among treatment-seeking substance-dependent subjects.

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Plebani, J. (2015) Treatment-Seeking Alcohol and Cocaine Dependent Individuals with High BMIs and below Average Fitness Levels. Open Access Library Journal, 2, 1-4. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1101588.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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