Weight Gain After Quitting

Smoking cessation can often come with the added weight gain

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Not everyone gains weight when they quit smoking but, unfortunately, about 84 percent do. Making the effort to not overeat for the first few months after quitting could help.

A recent study found that weight gain has been significant for many people trying to kick cigarettes. Eating habit awareness may be the best way to combat the issue.

"Exercise and eat healthy to prevent weight gain."

Henre-Jean Aubin, MD, professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at Centre d’Enseignement, de Recherche et de Traitement des Addictions at the University of Paris-Sud in France, led an investigation into weight gain after quitting smoking.

Researchers dug through the Central Register of Controlled trials for smoking cessation interventions that resulted in weight gain.

They came up with 62 studies and looked at weight gain at the start, then one, two, three, six and 12 months after quitting smoking.

Researchers grouped quitters based on whether they were using prescription medication to help them quit and nothing at all and found no major differences between the two.

After one month the average weight gain was 2.5 lbs; after two months was 5 lbs; after three months was 6.3 lbs; after six months was 9.3 lbs; and after 12 months was 10.3 lbs.

Not everyone gained weight, and weight gain varied widely.

After a year, 16 percent lost weight, 37 percent gained less than 11 lbs., 34 percent gained 11-22 lbs., 13 percent gained more than 22 lbs.

Researchers concluded that most people gain around 10 lbs. after their first year of going smoke-free. They found that the greatest weight gain occurred in the first three months after quitting smoking.

Authors said, “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.”

This study was published in July in the British Medical Journal. Funding was provided by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control studies and other British health agencies, no conflicts of interest were found.
 

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Review Date: 
August 10, 2012
Last Updated:
August 10, 2012