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      Smoking Cessation and Severity of Weight Gain in a National Cohort

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          Abstract

          Many believe that the prospect of weight gain discourages smokers from quitting. Accurate estimates of the weight gain related to the cessation of smoking in the general population are not available, however. We related changes in body weight to changes in smoking status in adults 25 to 74 years of age who were weighed in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I, 1971 to 1975) and then weighed a second time in the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (1982 to 1984). The cohort included continuing smokers (748 men and 1137 women) and those who had quit smoking for a year or more (409 men and 359 women). The mean weight gain attributable to the cessation of smoking, as adjusted for age, race, level of education, alcohol use, illnesses related to change in weight, base-line weight, and physical activity, was 2.8 kg in men and 3.8 kg in women. Major weight gain (greater than 13 kg) occurred in 9.8 percent of the men and 13.4 percent of the women who quit smoking. The relative risk of major weight gain in those who quit smoking (as compared with those who continued to smoke) was 8.1 (95 percent confidence interval, 4.4 to 14.9) in men and 5.8 (95 percent confidence interval, 3.7 to 9.1) in women, and it remained high regardless of the duration of cessation. For both sexes, blacks, people under the age of 55, and people who smoked 15 cigarettes or more per day were at higher risk of major weight gain after quitting smoking. Although at base line the smokers weighed less than those who had never smoked, they weighed nearly the same at follow-up. Major weight gain is strongly related to smoking cessation, but it occurs in only a minority of those who stop smoking. Weight gain is not likely to negate the health benefits of smoking cessation, but its cosmetic effects may interfere with attempts to quit. Effective methods of weight control are therefore needed for smokers trying to quit.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Obesity as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease: a 26-year follow-up of participants in the Framingham Heart Study.

          The relationship between the degree of obesity and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) was reexamined in the 5209 men and women of the original Framingham cohort. Recent observations of disease occurrence over 26 years indicate that obesity, measured by Metropolitan Relative Weight, was a significant independent predictor of CVD, particularly among women. Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that Metropolitan Relative Weight, or percentage of desirable weight, on initial examination predicted 26-year incidence of coronary disease (both angina and coronary disease other than angina), coronary death and congestive heart failure in men independent of age, cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, cigarettes, left ventricular hypertrophy and glucose intolerance. Relative weight in women was also positively and independently associated with coronary disease, stroke, congestive failure, and coronary and CVD death. These data further show that weight gain after the young adult years conveyed an increased risk of CVD in both sexes that could not be attributed either to the initial weight or the levels of the risk factors that may have resulted from weight gain. Intervention in obesity, in addition to the well established risk factors, appears to be an advisable goal in the primary prevention of CVD.
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            A prospective study of obesity and risk of coronary heart disease in women.

            We examined the incidence of nonfatal and fatal coronary heart disease in relation to obesity in a prospective cohort study of 115,886 U.S. women who were 30 to 55 years of age in 1976 and free of diagnosed coronary disease, stroke, and cancer. During eight years of follow-up (775,430 person-years), we identified 605 first coronary events, including 306 nonfatal myocardial infarctions, 83 deaths due to coronary heart disease, and 216 cases of confirmed angina pectoris. A higher Quetelet index (weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) was positively associated with the occurrence of each category of coronary heart disease. For increasing levels of current Quetelet index (less than 21, 21 to less than 23, 23 to less than 25, 25 to less than 29, and greater than or equal to 29), the relative risks of nonfatal myocardial infarction and fatal coronary heart disease combined, as adjusted for age and cigarette smoking, were 1.0, 1.3, 1.3, 1.8, and 3.3 (Mantel-extension chi for trend = 7.29; P less than 0.00001). As expected, control for a history of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hypercholesterolemia--conditions known to be biologic effects of obesity--attenuated the strength of the association. The current Quetelet index was a more important determinant of coronary risk than that at the age of 18; an intervening weight gain increased risk substantially. These prospective data emphasize the importance of obesity as a determinant of coronary heart disease in women. After control for cigarette smoking, which is essential to assess the true effects of obesity, even mild-to-moderate overweight increased the risk of coronary disease in middle-aged women.
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              The 10-year incidence of overweight and major weight gain in US adults.

              We estimated the 10-year incidence of major weight gain (a gain in body mass index of greater than or equal to 5 kg/m2 and overweight (a body mass index of greater than or equal to 27.8 for men and greater than or equal to 27.3 for women) in US adults using data from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Persons aged 25 to 74 years at baseline were reweighed a decade after their initial examination (men, 3727; women, 6135). The incidence of major weight gain was twice as high in women and was highest in persons aged 25 to 34 years (men, 3.9%; women, 8.4%). Initially overweight women aged 25 to 44 years had the highest incidence of major weight gain of any subgroup (14.2%). For person not overweight at baseline (men, 2760; women, 4295), the incidence of becoming overweight was similar in both sexes and was highest in those aged 35 to 44 years (men, 16.3%; women, 13.5%). We conclude that obesity prevention should begin among adults in their early 20s and that special emphasis is needed for young women who are already overweight.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                March 14 1991
                March 14 1991
                : 324
                : 11
                : 739-745
                Article
                10.1056/NEJM199103143241106
                1997840
                © 1991

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