It’s A Myth: Smoking Doesn’t Keep You Slim

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Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

You might think that you will gain weight if you quit smoking. But it’s not that simple. A master’s thesis from NHV shows that smoking doesn’t help you get thinner.

While cigarette smoking has decreased in western countries, obesity has increased. Recent studies have suggested that today’s smokers may have less weight problems than non-smokers. “That’s why I wanted to study whether the relationship between smoking and overweight has changed over time”, said Lisa Webb, Master of Public Health at NHV.

Approximately 6,000 people have participated in a study on the relationship between smoking and obesity. Two measure of body fat have been used: BMI (body mass index) and WHR (waist hip ratio). The master’s thesis “Smoking in the age of obesity: an investigation of secular trends in body fat and cigarette smoking” shows higher WHR for male and female smokers but lower BMI for female smokers, as compared with non-smokers.

A particularly noteworthy finding was that the difference between WHR among female smokers and never-smokers increased during the study.

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