Washington, Nov 14 : Die-hard sports fans might be putting themselves at an increased risk of developing heart disease, cancer and even premature death, says a new study.
The researchers from University of Arkansas at Little Rock have revealed that sports fans may be at an increased risk of suffering heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer and premature death because of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Dr. Daniel Sweeney, professor of sport management, and Donna Quimby, professor of exercise science have found that people who are more personally committed and emotionally involved with a sports team have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) than do people who are less personally committed and emotionally involved with a sports team.
This is because more enthusiastic sports fans eat fast food more often, have diets which are higher in fat, eat less vegetables, eat breakfast less often during the week.
"The study results also revealed that the more psychologically connected fans are to a team, the more likely they are to consume more alcoholic beverages on the days that they choose to drink than do less excited sports fans," said Quimby.
She called for the development of successful preventative programming and marketing of healthy lifestyles, and bolstering health insurance to include preventative services.
"Although previous studies have shown that die-hard sports fans are psychologically healthier than non-sports fans, this study is the first to examine the physical health risks associated with sport fandom," said Sweeney.
The study discovered that sports fans might engage in riskier health related behaviours than non-sports fans.
The study was presented at the Arkansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Conference.