Putting on weight after quitting smoking does not negate health benefits

An analysis of data from the Framingham Offspring Study – a long-term study that follows children of participants in the original Framingham Heart Study – may have responded a question that has troubled individuals thinking of stopping smoking: do the health associated with any weight gained after giving up outweigh the known cardiovascular benefits of smoking cessation? The report in the March 13 issue of JAMA proves that the benefits of stopping smoking significantly exceed any weight-gain associated risk.

“Among people without diabetes, those who ceased smoking had a 50 percent reduction in the risk for heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death, and accounting for any bodyweight increase didn’t change that risk reduction, ” says James Meigs, MD, MPH, of the General Medication Unit at Massachusetts General Medical center (MGH) senior author of the JAMA report. “In patients with diabetes – among whom weight gain is a particular concern – we saw exactly the same pattern of a large risk reduction regardless of weight gained. ”

No study has formerly investigated whether smoking-cessation-associated weight gain increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. One did consider the effects on risk factors like blood pressure and lipid levels, but none have analyzed the actual happening of cardiovascular events. Participants in the Framingham Offspring Study, which started in 1971, have a comprehensive medical exam and history taken every four to six years. The current investigation analyzed data from participant visits conducted from the mid 1980s into the mid-2000s, which usually covering the third to eighth appointments for the overall study. The number of participants at each exam cycle ranged from almost 2, 400 to about several, 250, totaling 11, 148 person person-exams.

Based on information gathered at each exam, participants were categorized as never smokers, current smokers, recent quitters – who had stopped smoking considering that their last exam – and long-term quitters. At the third study visit, 31 percent of participants were current smokers, and by the particular eighth visit only 13 % continued to smoke. A general trend toward weight gain was seen across all study participants. Smokers, in no way smokers, and long-term quitters acquired an average of 1 to 2 pounds between study visits, while recent quitters acquired gained an average of 5 to 10 pounds since their previous go to. But no matter how much weight they will gained, the risk of cardiovascular events in the six years after quitting fallen in half for participants without diabetes. A similar drop in the incidence associated with cardiovascular events was seen in participants with diabetes, but it did not reach statistical significance, probably because lower than 15 percent of the overall group was know to have diabetes.

“We now can state without question that stopping smoking has a very positive effect on cardiovascular risk for patients with and without diabetes, even if they experience the reasonable weight gain seen in this study, which usually matches post-cessation weight increase documented in other studies, ” says Meigs, an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Source: Massachusetts general Hospital

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