Similarities in food cravings and mood states between obese women and women who smoke tobacco

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Jun;17(6):1158-63. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.46. Epub 2009 Feb 26.


The present study assessed food cravings in a cohort of 229 women who differed in smoking history (i.e., never smoker, former smoker, and current smoker) and body weight (i.e., normal weight, overweight, and obese). Each subject completed the Food Craving Inventory (FCI), which measures cravings for sweets, high fats, carbohydrates/starches, and fast-food fats, and the Profile of Mood States (POMS), which measures psychological distress. Smoking and obesity were independently associated with specific food cravings and mood states. Current smokers craved high fats more frequently than former and never smokers. They also craved starches more frequently and felt more depressed and angry than never smokers, but not former smokers. Whereas cravings for starchy foods and some mood states may be characteristic of women who are likely to smoke, more frequent cravings for fat among smokers is related to smoking per se. Similarly, obese women craved high fats more frequently than nonobese women and depression symptoms were intensified with increasing body weights. We hypothesize that the overlapping neuroendocrine alterations associated with obesity and smoking and the remarkable similarities in food cravings and mood states between women who smoke and women who are obese suggest that common biological mechanisms modulate cravings for fat in these women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Appetite*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates*
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats