Problem gambling is a serious public health issue. The objective of this study was to investigate whether past year problem gamblers differed from non-problem gamblers with regard to health behaviour and body mass index (BMI) among Danes aged 16 years or older. Data were derived from the Danish Health and Morbidity Surveys in 2005 and 2010. Past year problem gambling was defined using the lie/bet questionnaire. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between past year problem gambling and health behaviour and BMI. Problem gambling was associated with unhealthy behaviour and obesity. The odds of smoking was significantly higher among problem gamblers than among non-problem gamblers. Further, the odds of high-risk alcohol drinking and illicit drug use were significantly higher among problem gamblers. The prevalence of sedentary leisure activity, unhealthy diet pattern and obesity was higher among problem gamblers than among non-problem gamblers. The associations found in this study remained significant after adjustment for sex, age, educational and cohabiting status as well as other risk factors. Our findings highlight the presence of a potential, public health challenge and elucidate the need for health promotion initiatives targeted at problem gamblers. Furthermore, more research is needed in order to understand the underlying social mechanism of the association between problem gamblers and unhealthy behaviour.
Journal of Gambling Studies, 2015, Vol 31, Issue 2, p. 547-556