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May 16, 2014 3:00 AM by Marissa Esquivel

Could an app help women quit smoking without gaining weight?

TUCSON - A new study is being conducted to see if woman won't gain weight after they quit smoking.

The study is being led by Judith Gordon, associate head for research with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Gordon will develop and test a mobile phone app designed to help women stop smoking while learning to eat healthy foods and increase their physical activity.

The National Cancer Institute has awarded $365,000 for the two-year project.

The app includes guided-imagery messages designed to boost positive body image, and persuade a woman that she can and will be stronger, healthier and happier by eating well, being physically active and not smoking.

In the first phase of the study, 10 to 20 Tucson-area women who want to quit smoking, but are worried about weight gain, will review the app and provide feedback.

In the second phase of the study, the app will be available free on the Google Play Store, and 50 women from across the country will test it.

The app provides audio recordings of guided imagery scripts that women will listen to every day. There will be scripts focusing on quitting smoking, eating nutritious foods and doing moderate physical activity every day.

The women will be able to track their mood and cravings, whether for a cigarette or a burger and fries - every day. Each guided imagery script will teach the women to expect cravings and changes in mood, and assist them to overcome these challenges.

Participants also will record how long they were able to quit smoking, what happened to their weight and whether their body image has changed.

"And even if they do gain some weight, overall the benefits of quitting smoking far offset the few pounds they may put on," Gordon said.

Women who are current smokers and use an Android smart phone may be eligible to take part in this study.

Participants will be compensated. For more information, please call Perlana Howard, UA Department of Family and Community Medicine, 520-626-4188.

Judith Gordon ,PhD

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