The study, which began with a self-administered questionnaire taken between 1983 and 1989, asked more than 80,000 radiologic technologists aged 22 to 92 questions about age, height, weight and smoking behavior.
BMI (body mass index) was calculated, with a BMI of 30 to 34.9 being considered obese, and 35 and over being very obese. Smoking behavior was analyzed by looking at a persons tobacco consumption level, number of years smoked, and current smoking status. Researchers then followed participants through December of 2002, noting the number of deaths that occurred.
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The study involved researchers from the National Cancer Institute, the University of Minnesota and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
- 20 percent of obese adults in the United States smoke.
- Obese smokers face a greater risk of death from cancer and circulatory disease.
- Current smoking is a greater risk factor for death by cancer than obesity is, generally speaking.
- The higher a person's pack-years (number of packs smoked per day times the number of years smoked) are, the greater the risk of death.
- Men and women of all ages faced an elevated risk of death due to circulatory disease as BMI increased. And for those who were both obese and currently smoking, risk of circulatory disease increased 6 to 11 times under the age of 65, as compared to their never-smoking, normal weight counterparts.
Taking Charge of Your HealthMaking healthy choices can be difficult when were constantly bombarded with products that are hazardous to our health, but it's not impossible. With education and some motivation, we all have the ability to make lasting changes for the better. If youre an overweight smoker worried about gaining weight due to quitting, take heart. Its never too late to change your course and even reverse damage to some extent.
One Day at a TimeIf you need to lose weight and quit smoking, break your goals down into realistic, workable chunks. Dont overwhelm yourself by looking at the big picture focus your attention on the day you have in front of you only. We cannot change the past, and its futile to worry about the future. Today is where your power to make changes in your life lies. Use it to your advantage!
One Thing at a TimeIn order to quit smoking successfully, you must give cessation 100% of your attention for the first few months; often more. Think weight maintenance rather than weight loss while your quit program is young. Aim at holding your weight steady for now a realistic goal while you are working to quit smoking.
How Much Weight Gain is Normal with Smoking Cessation?If your eating habits remain the same as they were when you smoked, you can expect to gain approximately 5 to 10 pounds. This gain is temporary, and will fall away once your body adjusts to cessation, as long as you continue eating normally!
Add a Little ExerciseYou can further help yourself avoid weight gain when you quit smoking by adding some exercise to your daily regimen. Do as much or as little as youre comfortable with, and be sure to check with your doctor if you have health concerns that could influence increased physical activity.
Double Jeopardy: Obese Smokers at Higher Risk of Death Health Behavior News Service
Freedman DM, et al. The Mortality Risk of Smoking and Obesity Combined. Am J Prev Med 31(5), 2006.