How to reduce weight gain in midlife | Image Credit: © New Africa - © New Africa - stock.adobe.com.
It is possible for menopausal and postmenopausal women to lose weight, according to information highlighted at The Menopause Society 2023 Annual Meeting.
- Weight Gain during Menopause: Menopausal and postmenopausal women often experience unwanted weight gain, which can negatively impact self-esteem and increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and mental and cognitive health issues.
- Hormone Changes and Body Fat: Decreasing estrogen levels during menopause lead to hormonal changes that affect the distribution of body fat, causing an increase in central adiposity (fat around the abdomen) and a loss of lean muscle mass.
- Preventing Weight Gain: Weight gain during menopause is preventable. Comprehensive lifestyle interventions that encompass medical nutrition therapy, exercise, and behavioral strategies are crucial for weight gain prevention and weight loss in menopausal women.
- Special Considerations: Midlife women have specific dietary and exercise considerations. Tailored macronutrient dietary content and exercise types should be incorporated into lifestyle modification plans.
- Challenges and Solutions: Although lifestyle modifications can lead to effective weight loss initially, there is often weight regain due to compensatory changes in appetite and energy expenditure. To address this, anti-obesity medications and surgical interventions can be considered alongside lifestyle changes.
Women in menopause transition often experience unwanted weight gain, impacting self-esteem and increasing the risks of heart disease, cancer, and reduced mental and cognitive health. Aging, menopause, and lifestyle are all factors which influence weight gain among midlife women.
Women often reduce physical activity and experience a decrease in lean mass as they age, reducing their use of energy. Decreasing estrogen levels during menopause transition also lead to hormone changes in the body, impacting the distribution of body fat, increasing central adiposity, and further exacerbating lean mass loss.
Multiple adverse health outcomes have been associated with weight gain and changes in body fat distribution, such as heart and joint issues and worsened menopause symptoms. However, weight gain during menopause can be prevented, as discussed by Maria Daniela Hurtado, MD, PhD at The Menopause Society 2023 Annual Meeting.
"Comprehensive lifestyle interventions remain the backbone of any treatment plan for weight gain prevention or weight loss and should include medical nutrition therapy, exercise, and behavioral interventions," said Hurtado.
Hurtado noted there are special considerations for macronutrient dietary content and exercise type among midlife women. Lifestyle modification-induced weight loss is initially effective, but often leads to weight regain caused by compensatory changes in appetite and energy expenditure.This can be prevented with the use of anti-obesity medication or surgical interventions alongside changes in lifestyle.
"This is an important presentation as it will review a common issue raised by many women at midlife," said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, medical director for The Menopause Society. "Healthcare professionals can benefit by understanding the various approaches to weight management so they can share the latest findings with their patients."
Shedding pounds during midlife Is difficult, but not impossible. The Menopause Society. September 27, 2023. Accessed September 18, 2023.