Teen Girls Who Smoke May Suffer Weight Problems as Adults

Photo Credit: Steve Liss  mtv.comPhoto Credit: Steve Liss mtv.com

To all those teenage girls that are thinking about smoking, a new study says that teen smokers are more likely to be obese as adults.

This study, published in the February 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found that girls smoking 10 cigarettes or more a day are at a greater risk for a larger waistline.

Although the study showed these results in women, it did not show weight problems for men. Lead study author Suoma Saarni, a researcher with the Department of Public Health in Helsinki, said, “We do not know why smoking did not affect men's weight, as we do not know why smoking affected women's weight.”

The study looked at twins born between 1975 and 1979. Questionairres were sent to them around their 16th birthdays. When the twins reached their 20’s, researchers collected more data on the 2,278 women and 2,018 men involved in the study.

Around 15.5 percent of the men and 9.4 percent of the women smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day. Half of the participants never smoked, while about 12 percent smoked when they were younger.

Weight problems became an issue by the time the smoking teens reached their 20’s, and when they reached age 24, 24 percent of men and 11 percent of women were overweight.

According to the study results, women smokers were 2.32 times more likely to become overweight than nonsmokers.

Researchers state that the difference could be either cultural or biological.

“My hunch is that women are more likely to smoke for weight control, especially in adolescence,” said Sherry Pagoto, assistant professor in clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “When people do quit smoking, one of the reasons they gain weight is that they increase their consumption of foods. They'll start snacking at the times they used to smoke.”

Source: Health Behavior News Service

Some of the sites we link to are affiliates. We may earn a small commission if you use our links.