Enjoy Your Menopause!

December 12, 2008

Smoke Now Pay Later

For the past couple of years, I’ve been blaming the pudge around my waisteline on menopause.  Everything I’ve read indicates menopause is a culprit that causes weight gain as the result of a slower metabolism.

But today I am learning that menopause may not be the lone cause for middle-age spread.

According to a report released today out of Finland,  teen smokers are more likely to experience obesity as adults.  Even though I didn’t smoke as a teenager, I did pick up the nasty habit in my early late 20s and continued until my early 40s.   

According to the Finland study, girls who smoke 10 cigarettes per day or more are at greatest risk, particularly for abdominal obesity. Their waist sizes are 1.34 inches larger than nonsmokers’ waists are as young adults.  

But smoking in adolescence did not necessarily predict weight problems for men, according to the study.

Scientists know a correlation exists between women’s weight and smoking,  but they don’t know why smoking doesn’t necessarily affect a man’s weight. 

The young women who smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day were 2.32 times more likely to become overweight than nonsmokers, according to the study.

Researchers say the difference could be either biological or cultural.  Biologically, it might be that tobacco and gender specific hormones interact differently in girls and boys in ways that affect appetite and fat distribution.

“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.”

1 Comment »

  1. WOW! I never heard that information before. I started smoking in college because I thought it looked “cool” and “sophisticated,” and then kept it up so that I wouldn’t snack so much. I’d grab a cigarette instead of a cookie. What a huge mistake I made!
    And, you’re right! My middle now seems to have a life of its own and its growing by leaps and bounds. Oh, well, another life lesson I wish I hadn’t had to learn.

    Comment by Eileen Williams — December 13, 2008 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

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