Smoking, body mass, and hot flashes in midlife women

Maura K. Whiteman, Catherine A. Staropoli, Patricia W. Langenberg, Robert J. McCarter, Kristen H. Kjerulff, Jodi A. Flaws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess whether lifestyle factors, specifically smoking and body mass index (BMI), are associated with the occurrence of any, moderate to severe, or daily hot flashes. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among women aged 40-60 years residing in the Baltimore metropolitan area who reported their history of hot flashes through a mailed survey. Logistic regression was used to assess the associations between smoking and BMI with any, moderate to severe, and daily hot flashes. Results: Of the 1087 women included in the study, 56% reported having hot flashes. Compared with never-smokers, current smokers were at an increased risk for both moderate to severe hot flashes (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3, 2.9) and daily hot flashes (adjusted OR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.4, 3.7). Among current smokers, risk for hot flashes increased with greater amount smoked. High BMI (more than 30 kg/m2) was associated with an increased risk for moderate to severe hot flashes compared with low BMI (less than 24.9 kg/m2) (adjusted OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.5, 3.0). An increased risk for any or daily hot flashes with high BMI was present only among premenopausal or perimenopausal women. Conclusion: Potentially modifiable factors, such as current smoking and high BMI, may predispose a woman to more severe or frequent hot flashes. This information may be valuable for identifying women at risk for hot flashes and for developing appropriate prevention strategies that may include lifestyle modifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-272
Number of pages9
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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