For smokers, the number of the number of cigarettes smoked per day and current body mass index are predictive of changes in weight after quitting smoking, according to new research.
“Many smokers are concerned about gaining weight after quitting smoking and this can be a barrier for them when they are considering whether or not to make a quit attempt,” said Susan Veldheer, a registered dietitian in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine. “Being able to easily identify smokers who may gain more weight when they quit is important so that we can work with patients to tailor their treatment plan.”
To better understand personal factors that may contribute to weight gain, the researchers analyzed data from 12,204 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They looked at the number of cigarettes smoked per day and body mass index before quitting, to see how these factors may have affected weight change over 10 years. Findings were reported in International Journal of Obesity.
The researchers compared the change in weight for non-smokers, continuing smokers and smokers who quit. “People tend to put on some weight over time and everyone in the study gained weight. The non-smokers gained about a pound a year for 10 years,” said Veldheer.