Study Finds Teenage Girls Who Smoke Develop Larger Waistlines

Sep 16, 2014 by

Study Finds Teenage Girls Who Smoke Develop Larger Waistlines

Many young girls smoke thinking that it helps to keep them slim. It is thus very ironic that, in a study carried out by the Department of Public Health in Helsinki a few years ago, it was found that teenage girls who smoke have a higher likelihood of having bigger waistlines, too.

Strangely, this phenomenon only afflicts girls, and does not seem to affect boys. And scientists have no idea why this is so, according to Suoma Saarni, the leader of the study.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, had tracked thousands of twins. It found that girls who smoked 10 or more cigarettes per day while they were teenagers have a higher risk of growing wide waistlines later on in life. For these girls, when they reached young adulthood, their waist sizes were, on average, 1.34 inches bigger than the waistlines of non-smokers.

“My hunch is that women are more likely to smoke for weight control, especially in adolescence. 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,” said Sherry Pagoto, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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