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Am J Public Health. 2009 Feb;99(2):348-54. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.123851. Epub 2008 Dec 4.

Association of smoking in adolescence with abdominal obesity in adulthood: a follow-up study of 5 birth cohorts of Finnish twins.

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Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.



We studied the association of adolescent smoking with overweight and abdominal obesity in adulthood.


We used the FinnTwin16, a prospective, population-based questionnaire study of 5 consecutive and complete birth cohorts of Finnish twins born between 1975 and 1979 (N = 4296) and studied at four points between the ages of 16 and 27 years to analyze the effect of adolescent smoking on abdominal obesity and overweight in early adulthood.


Smoking at least 10 cigarettes daily when aged 16 to 18 years increased the risk of adult abdominal obesity (odds ratio [OR]=1.77; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.39, 2.26). After we adjusted for confounders, the OR was 1.44 (95% CI = 1.11, 1.88), and after further adjustment for current body mass index (BMI), the OR was 1.34 (95% CI = 0.95, 1.88). Adolescent smoking significantly increased the risk of becoming overweight among women even after adjustment for possible confounders, including baseline BMI (OR = 1.74; 95% CI = 1.06, 2.88).


Smoking is a risk factor for abdominal obesity among both genders and for overweight in women. The prevention of smoking during adolescence may play an important role in promoting healthy weight and in decreasing the morbidity related to abdominal obesity.

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