DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE
BOSTON--Fear of weight gain after quitting smoking has been
an expressed concern of smokers contemplating kicking the habit. The
prospect of gaining weight is certainly not appealing to anyone, and
certainly not women.
Last Editorial Review: 12/31/1997
There is now a battle plan available for women smokers who wish to
stop and avoid subsequent weight gain.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Public
Health (July 1996, Vol.86,No.7:999-1004) by Ichiro Kawachi,
M.D. and associates at Harvard University found that women who
stopped smoking, without changing their levels of exercise, gained
2.3 kg (4.93 pounds) over a 2-year study period. Women who exercised
equivalent to 1-2 hours of vigorous activity per week after quitting
smoking only gained 1.8 kg (3.86 pounds), while the weight gain was
only 1.3 kg (2.79 pounds) for those who exercised the equivalent of 2
or greater hours of vigorous exercise per week.
The findings of this study provide added incentive to female smokers
to discontinue their unhealthy habits. No longer can it be said that
quitting will inexorably lead to weight gain.
This study also emphasizes that "getting healthy" is not a passive
event. The benefits of exercise for women and men go beyond cosmetic
and include improved cardiovascular condition, endurance,
musculoskeletal stability (especially important in the elderly), and
emotional well-being. The benefits of quitting smoking are too
numerous to review here, even with computer memory, but they include
lowering of rate of death.
During this Olympic Year, the editors of MedicineNet
would encourage women and men of all ages who smoke to use the
inspiration of the amazing athletes of the world and STOP SMOKING!