Menopause and Weight Gain

Menopause and weight gain seem to creep in more often to women on menopause. Studies shows that though hormonal imbalance contribute to changes in body composition and fat distribution, it does not cause weight gain.

The studies focussed on the question of weather midlife weight gain is simply a function of age or due to hormonal changes that occur In relation to menopause have concluded that the steady weight gain of about 0.5kgm annually is dues to age rather than menopause itself. The comparison of weight in women are from varying menopausal status ( premenopause, perimenopause, and post menopausal ). These women are of similar chronological age. They studied the rate of weight change and the impact of menopausal status & hormonal change. 

Etnicity and physical activity was put into consideration as they have profound effect on both obesity and fat distribution.

The study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) included 5 etnic group in US: Caucasians, African Americans, Hispanic, Chinese and Japanese. The survey was done on 16,000 participants, found no difference in self reported Body Mass Index (BMI) between premenopausal and post menopausal women.
This sub-study reported that median weight of the chinese pre and early post menopausal was not statisticallydifferent from that of the late perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. The median weight of the white women in the study was significantly greater than that of the chinese but also did not differ by menopausal status. SWAN found that the mean weight gain over 3 years as a whole was 2.1kg and was unrelated to menopausal status.
In summary SWAN study shows that weight gain  does not appear to be affected by hormonal changes of the menopause. Consistent with weight gain primarily influence by age not menopause.

Consistent with weight gain primarily influenced by age not menopause, the published literature does not support an adverse effect of spontaneous premature ovarian failure (POF) on the body weight and in general women with POF tend to be leaner.

Abdominal Obesity
In 2008, the prevalence of abdominal obesity in USA is almost double, of 65.5% in women aged 40-59 years and 73 & in women aged 60 years or more. It has been suggested that Body Mass Index (BMI) not menopausal status determines central adiposity in post menopausal women. However there is substantial evidence that the perimenopause is associated with a more rapid increase in fat mass and redistribution of fat the abdomen.

Aging and the menopause transition are each associated with changes in the adipose tissue metabolism, which may contribute to the accumulation of the body fat after menopause.

Other evidence related to obesity are:

* Increase Food intake and lower activity
* Disruption of Circadian rhymthym
* Skipping Breakfast, daily eating frequency
* snacking irregular meals
* consumption of fast food
* Psychological distress
*  Low Self Esteem

Strategies to Prevent and manage weight gain

*  Increase Physical Activity
*  Complementary & alternative Treatment such as:
*  Traditional Chinese medicine, Acupuncture & herbal medicine
*  Believe to induce weight loss via it’s regulatory effects on nerve and endocrine functions.
*  Laser acupuncture has been found to exert a therapeutic effect on BMI and body weight
*  Yoga is associated with decrease BMI, improves metabolic syndrome,
*  Healthy Diet plus appropriate supplementation.
* Bariatric surgery is accepted as obesity surgery with excellent results related to weight loo and reduction of morbidity due to     metabolic syndrome
*  No effective and safe drug is yet available for weight loss

Menopause and weight gain could serve as your sign post to keep awareness in help your body maintain healthy weight  through the best strategies that match your unique body need. I believed though that weight gain do have deeper psychological trigger, that if address from the core can be resolved from the inside out.

Author: Estelita Pearce – Counsellor of Wellness





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