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OBJECTIVE:  Both cigarette smoking and use of exogenous hormones are associated with changes in regional distribution of body fat, but their combined effects are less investigated. We examined the interrelation between smoking, exogenous hormones and fat distribution in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. METHOD: We used data from 20, 962 women without known cardiovascular disease (CVD) who were employees of a major department store in Britain. They completed a health questionnaire and attended a clinical examination that included waist and hip circumference measurements. The cross-sectional analyses were conducted using linear regression models. RESULTS: Cigarette smoking, particularly smoking ≥20 cigarettes/day, was associated with larger waist circumference and higher waist/hip ratio (WHR) in pre- and postmenopausal women after adjusting for potential confounding factors (all P < 0·001). Premenopausal women using combined oral contraceptive (COC) and postmenopausal women using oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) had lower WHR than non-hormone users in both smokers and nonsmokers. However, smokers had higher WHR than nonsmokers in both groups of hormone users and nonusers. There was no significant interaction between smoking and hormone use in premenopausal and postmenopausal women (P > 0·05). CONCLUSION: Although exogenous hormones use was related to a more favourable fat distribution in women, smoking was associated with greater abdominal fat accumulation.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Endocrinol (Oxf)

Publication Date





828 - 833


Abdominal Fat, Alcohol Drinking, Body Fat Distribution, Body Mass Index, Cohort Studies, Contraceptives, Oral, Combined, Dietary Fats, Dietary Fiber, Estrogen Replacement Therapy, Exercise, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Postmenopause, Smoking, Waist Circumference, Waist-Hip Ratio