While cigarette smoking has decreased in western countries, obesity has increased. Recent studies have suggested that today’s smokers may have less weight problems than non-smokers. “That’s why I wanted to study whether the relationship between smoking and overweight has changed over time”, said Lisa Webb, Master of Public Health at NHV.
Approximately 6,000 people have participated in a study on the relationship between smoking and obesity. Two measure of body fat have been used: BMI (body mass index) and WHR (waist hip ratio). The master’s thesis “Smoking in the age of obesity: an investigation of secular trends in body fat and cigarette smoking” shows higher WHR for male and female smokers but lower BMI for female smokers, as compared with non-smokers.
A particularly noteworthy finding was that the difference between WHR among female smokers and never-smokers increased during the study.