Wilkinson County Health Alert. Smoking Linked to Increased Belly Fat. Doctor Explains

Cover Image: Wilkinson County Health Alert. Smoking Linked to Increased Belly Fat. Doctor Explains

In this article, Dr. Puja Uppal, Family Medicine, shares her expert insights of the findings and provides Georgia residents with evidence-based recommendations for protecting their health.

Introduction: Why This Matters to You

New research shows a surprising twist: smoking may actually lead to weight gain and an increase in unhealthy belly fat.

What This Means for Your Health

"...this study and its findings show that smoking leads to unhealthy weight gain. You don't need more evidence, it's time to quit now!" Dr. Puja Uppal, Family Medicine

Doctor's Expert Insights about Smoking Cessation and Your Health in Georgia

Know this: "Quitting smoking makes many people worry about weight gain. But, this new research is showing us that long-term smoking can actually pack on the pounds. Especially around your middle. Smoking changes your fat distribution and leads to an accumulation of visceral fat—deep abdominal fat that's been linked with severe health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. Did you know that smoking before pregnancy can be harmful as well?

Actionable Steps: What You Can Do Next

  • Have a smoking cessation visit with your doctor and figure out the root causes of your smoking. It could be undiagnosed ADHD, anxiety, and more.

  • If you've been smoking for a long time, you may qualify for a low dose CT-Scan through your insurance in Georgia. Have that conversation.

  • Nicotine patches, medicines, and CBT solutions exist to help you stop smoking.

  • Keep in mind: Vaping is not the solution.

  • 1-800-QUIT-NOW is a telephone and text-based service to help you quit smoking.

  • Most insurances in Georgia cover smoking cessation treatments." Dr. Shelandra Bell, Family Medicine.

Health News Today: Long-term smoking can lead to more fat around your belly and other internal organs.

The Science Made Simple: Key Findings and What They Mean for Georgia Residents

Types of Fat Affected by Smoking

The study concludes that smoking initiation and lifetime smoking may causally increase abdominal obesity and increase visceral adipose tissue.

Types of Fat Affected by Smoking

People who start smoking and continue smoking throughout their life are more likely to see a bigger increase in visceral adipose tissue (VAT), compared to two other types of fat: abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (ASAT) and gluteofemoral subcutaneous adipose tissue (GSAT).

  • Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT): Fat that wraps around internal organs.
  • Abdominal Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue (ASAT): Fat found under the skin in the belly area.
  • Gluteofemoral Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue (GSAT): Fat found under the skin in the hip and thigh areas.

Waist Circumference and Smoking

The study found evidence of a positive causal effect of smoking initiation and lifetime smoking on waist circumference (WC) and WC adjusted for BMI.

Smoking Initiation and Duration Matter More Than Heaviness

In other words, just starting to smoke and continuing to smoke over time seems to cause more abdominal fat gain -- regardless of whether the person is a light or heavy smoker.

This goes against some earlier research that has suggested that the number of cigarettes smoked daily (smoking heaviness) was the main factor in increasing abdominal obesity.

Instead, this study points to smoking initiation and the length of time someone has been smoking as the key drivers of greater belly fat accumulation.

So, in terms of the relationship between smoking and abdominal fat--it appears to matter more whether and for how long a person smokes.

Smoking Heaviness is Not a Significant Factor

The study did not find evidence of a causal relationship between smoking heaviness (cigarettes per day or pack-years) and abdominal adiposity.

Conclusion: Smoking Itself and Duration are Key Factors

The act of smoking itself and how long you've been smoking are the most important factors that lead to visceral fat gains.

Medical News Today: What This Means for Your Health in Wilkinson County, Georgia

The Bottom Line: Recognizing that smoking is a contributor to weight gain and increased visceral fat could shift the narrative around smoking cessation. This study challenges the notion that quitting smoking is the main culprit behind weight changes.

"Our study showed that smoking initiation and life-time smoking may causally increase abdominal adiposity, as indicated by higher WHR and WHR..." German D. Carrasquillia, MD

What They're Saying: "Smoking initiation and life-time smoking may causally increase abdominal and particularly visceral fat. Thus, public health efforts to prevent and reduce smoking may also help to reduce abdominal fat and the risk of related chronic diseases." (Study Source)

Read More of Our Heart Health Articles.

Health Standard Newswire: Starting to smoke and smoking more over a lifetime can result in more belly fat.

Health Facts That Matter: Key Statistics for Wilkinson County, Georgia

The following health facts impact your physical health directly!

Did you know there were 21931 deaths from heart disease in Georgia in 2021?

40.4% of you in Wilkinson County are obese.

20.8% of you in Wilkinson County have depression.

23.7% of you in Wilkinson County are smokers.

All of these variables above play an important role in the outcomes of your overall health.

The Health Standard Newswire.