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Br J Sports Med. 2017 Jul;51(14):1058-1064. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096814. Epub 2017 Jan 13.

Exercise as treatment for alcohol use disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
2
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven-University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
3
KU Leuven-University of Leuven, University Psychiatric Centre KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
4
Department of Molecular and Cellular Sports Medicine, Institute of Cardiovascular Research and Sports Medicine, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany.
5
Physiotherapy Department, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
6
Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating effects of exercise for people with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) across multiple health outcomes. We also investigated the prevalence and predictors of dropout from exercise studies in AUDs.

DESIGN:

Systematic review and random effects meta-analysis with meta-regression analyses.

DATA SOURCES:

3 major electronic databases were searched from inception until April 2016 for exercise intervention studies in adults with AUDs.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:

Studies of acute exercise in people with AUDs; and randomised and non-randomised trials examining effects of long-term (≥2 weeks) exercise.

RESULTS:

21 studies and 1204 unique persons with AUDs (mean age 37.8 years, mean illness duration 4.4 years) were included. Exercise did not reduce daily alcohol consumption (standardised mean difference (SMD) =-0.886, p=0.24), or the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) total scores (SMD=-0.378, p=0.18). For weekly consumption (n=3 studies), a statistically significant difference was observed favouring exercise (SMD=-0.656, p=0.04), but not after adjustment for publication bias (SMD=-0.16, 95% CI -0.88 to 0.55). Exercise significantly reduced depressive symptoms versus control (randomised controlled trials (RCTs) =4; SMD=-0.867, p=0.006, I2=63%) and improved physical fitness (VO2) (RCTs=3; SMD=0.564, p=0.01, I2=46%). The pooled dropout rate was 40.3% (95% CI 23.3% to 60.1%) which was no different to control conditions (OR=0.73, p=0.52). Dropouts were higher among men (β=0.0622, p<0.0001, R2=0.82).

LIMITATIONS:

It was not possible to investigate moderating effects of smoking.

CONCLUSIONS:

Available evidence indicates exercise appears not to reduce alcohol consumption, but has significant improvements in other health outcomes, including depression and physical fitness. Additional long-term controlled studies of exercise for AUDs are required.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Depression; Exercise; Fitness; Physical activity

PMID:
28087569
DOI:
10.1136/bjsports-2016-096814
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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