A total of 1,932 schoolgirls aged 11-18 from seven schools in the South London area were surveyed using questionnaires which addressed eating patterns, body weight history, attitudes to body weight and shape, menstrual history and current smoking behaviour. They were also weighed and their height was measured. Twelve per cent of the girls were regular smokers and 10% smoked seven or more cigarettes over a 4 day period. Amongst girls aged 14 and over, 15% smoked regularly and a further 9% occasionally. A significant relationship was found between smoking and weight. Smokers were more likely to be moderately overweight in relation to their peers and to have been worried about their weight at some stage. There were differences between girls in state schools and those in independent schools with regard to smoking behaviour and weight. The findings have implications for anti-smoking strategies and health education generally.
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