Considerable Variation in Weight Gain for Those Who Quit Smoking

Mean 4 to 5 kg gained in first year, mostly in first three months

WEDNESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who quit smoking gain a mean of 4 to 5 kg within the first 12 months, with the greatest weight gain occurring during the first three months, according to a meta-analysis published online July 10 in BMJ.

Henri-Jean Aubin, M.D., Ph.D., from the Hôpital Paul Brousse in Villejuif, France, and colleagues reviewed the literature and conducted a meta-analysis to describe the variation in weight gain for smokers who achieve prolonged abstinence.

Based on 62 studies, the researchers found that the mean weight gain in untreated quitters at one, two, three, six, and 12 months after quitting was 1.12 kg, 2.26 kg, 2.85 kg, 4.23 kg, and 4.67 kg, respectively. At 12 months after quitting, 16 percent of untreated quitters lost weight, 37 percent gained less than 5 kg, 34 percent gained 5 to 10 kg, and 13 percent gained more than 10 kg. Individuals using different pharmacotherapies to support cessation experienced similar estimated weight gain. Estimates were similar for those who were and were not concerned about weight gain.

"Previous reports have underestimated the average amount of weight gained when people stop smoking," the authors write. "These data suggest that doctors might usefully give patients a range of expected weight gain, although further research should identify the subgroups most at risk of gaining weight and clarify the optimum content and timing of interventions to prevent weight gain after cessation."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

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