Cigarette smoking and increased central adiposity

Ann Intern Med. 1989 Nov 15;111(10):783-7. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-111-10-783.


Study objective: To determine whether cigarette smoking is associated with central obesity in men and women.

Design: A cross-sectional survey.

Setting: A geographically defined population of older white adults.

Participants: Men (836) and women (1112) ages 50 to 79.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Waist-hip circumference ratio and body mass index (weight in kg/height in m2) were measured in participants wearing light clothing without shoes. Past and current cigarette smoking habits were ascertained by a standard self-administered questionnaire. Cigarette smokers had higher waist-hip ratios than non-smokers. We observed a dose-response relation of increasing waist-hip ratio with increasing number of cigarettes smoked. Although smokers were leaner than nonsmokers, the increased waist-hip ratio in smokers was independent of body mass index and was consistent within body-mass index tertiles. The associations, seen in both sexes, were stronger in women.

Conclusions: Cigarette smokers have more central obesity than nonsmokers. These results suggest that body fat distribution can be modified by behavioral factors such as smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Aged
  • Aging / pathology
  • Body Constitution*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / pathology*