Problem gambling

In 2010, 0.7–0.9% of people aged 16 and over in Britain were reported to be ‘problem’ gamblers (NatCen 2010). Problem gambling can result in financial difficulties, relationship breakdown, emotional distress, poor health, reduced performance at work and criminal activity (Langham et al 2016). This digest summarises three recent studies relating to this issue. 

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Health behaviour and body mass index among problem gamblers

The aim of this study was to investigate whether problem gamblers differed from non-problem gamblers regarding health behaviour and body mass index (BMI) in people in Denmark aged 16 years or older.

Data was pooled from the Danish Health and Morbidity Survey of 2005 and 2010. Information on health behaviour, morbidity, social relations, and socio-demographic factors were collected from 19,673 adults. Multiple logistic regressions were used to investigate the association between problem gambling, health behaviour and BMI. Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, education, cohabiting status and other risk factors.

In total, 0.8% of the study population were identified as having a gambling problem in the past year. Problem gambling was significantly associated with unhealthy behaviours and obesity. Unhealthy behaviours included smoking, drinking alcohol, illicit drug use, sedentary leisure activity and an unhealthy diet. The


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