- Menopause may affect distribution of body fat but does not appear to cause overall increased weight gain.
Why this matters
- The effect of menopause on fat distribution is not well studied.
- A 1-cm increase in waist circumference has been associated with a 2% increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
- If postmenopausal women are at risk for central weight gain, this could explain their increased risk for CVD.
- Overall fat mass increased in women from premenopause to postmenopause with the exception of leg fat percentage, which decreased.
- Overall trends: BMI and body fat increased 0.16 kg/m2/year and 0.41%/year, respectively, through menopause, suggesting that age, and not menopause itself, affects weight gain.
- Higher levels of testosterone relative to estradiol after menopause may play a role in increased central deposition of fat.
- Women with hormone replacement had reduced central weight gain but had increased overall weight gain.
- Systematic review and meta-analysis.
- 201 studies reporting cross-sectional data and 11 studies reporting longitudinal data were included.
- Differences in fat mass between healthy premenopausal and postmenopausal women analyzed.
- Funding: None.
- Definitions of premenopause and menopause differed across studies.