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Researchers measure weight gain associated with quitting smoking
07.11.2012Individuals who quit smoking may benefit from joining a healthcare and wellness program. New evidence suggests that former smokers typically gain more weight after giving up the habit than previously thought.
It has long been known that people who quit smoking often gain weight. However, the evidence was largely anecdotal. Few investigations have put an actual number on the amount of weight a person can expect to put on after smoking their last cigarette.
In the current study, a team of researchers from the UK and France analyzed the results of 62 previously published investigations that included information on weight gain after quitting smoking. The results showed that the average person puts on between four and five kilograms in the first year after giving up the habit. This is the equivalent of roughly between eight and 11 pounds.
Moreover, the correlation was relatively consistent, even among participants who used support mechanisms such as nicotine replacement therapy while they tried to quit.
Ten pounds may not sound like a lot of weight to gain, but even relatively modest changes in weight can have a profound effect on health. For this reason, individuals who quit smoking may benefit from taking steps to reduce weight gain after giving up the habit.
Still, the researchers recognized that the health benefits associated with quitting smoking far outweigh the modest wellness risks that come from gaining a few pounds. Therefore, people shouldn't be discouraged from trying to quit simply because of the risk of gaining weight.
"Although obesity is positively associated with an increased risk of all cause mortality, cohort studies indicate that modest weight gain does not increase the risk of death; smoking does," the team wrote in their report, which was published in the British Medical Journal.
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