Background: The aim of the study was to examine the associations between smoking habits, and dietary habits, physical activity and body mass index (BMI) in Norway in 1997-1999.
Methods: The study was cross-sectional. Data on smoking habits, consumption of selected foods and physical activity were collected by questionnaire while body height and weight were measured in 59,361 subjects 40-42 years in 11 Norwegian counties.
Results: In both genders, nearly twice as many never smokers than current smokers had fruit or vegetables at least twice a day; 25.5% versus 13.3% for women and 10.5% versus 4.6% for men. The proportion of non-smoking women with a high intake of fish and fruit/vegetables was considerably higher than that of non-smoking men. Mean BMI (95% confidence interval (CI)) was higher for never smokers than for current smokers; 25.2 (25.1-25.3) versus 24.7 (24.6-24.8) kg/m2 for women and 26.6 (26.5-26.7) versus 26.1 (26.0-26.2) kg/m2 for men. The prevalence of obesity (BMI > or =30 kg/m2) (mean and 95% CI) was 12.5% (11.9-13.1%) and 14.4% (13.7-15.1%) among never-smoking women and men, respectively, whereas in smokers, the prevalence of obesity was 10.3% (9.8-10.8%) in women and 12.3% (11.7-12.9%) in men. The prevalence of performing strenuous physical activity at least 1 h a week was approximately 10% lower among current smokers than among non-smokers for both men and women.
Conclusion: We found that non-smokers had healthier eating habits and higher levels of physical activity than did smokers, whereas the prevalence of obesity was lower in smokers. On the other hand, there were considerable gender differences, and female smokers' eating habits were as healthy as non-smoking males' eating habits.