In a presentation at the North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting, a study found that women may be more inclined to gain weight during the menopause transition.
Many women gain weight in midlife, with more than two-thirds of women in the United States being above ideal weight. While both women and men gain weight around midlife, women face greater challenges due to menopause, according to a poster presented at the North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting held in Atlanta, Georgia, from October 12-15, 2022.
The body’s metabolic rate drops with age as muscle mass drops. Sleep disturbances and mood disorders—which may be related to the menopause transition—can also interfere with healthy lifestyles and lead to weight gain.
According to the poster, added weight can lead to worse hot flashes and increase the risk of cardiometabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
The most important intervention for weight loss and maintenance, according to the poster, is still calorie restriction. Medications for weight loss are available, but cost is a concern, as well as potential drug interactions and adverse events. Bariatric surgery may be an option, but behavior modification is the primary tool to maintain long-term results.
"In the absence of active efforts at healthier eating and regular physical activity, weight gain is an inevitable occurrence in midlife women. It is imperative that women enter menopause with this knowledge and the familiarity with practical tips to prevent and manage weight gain," says presenter Ekta Kapoor, MBBS, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
"Without a doubt, women face an uphill battle against weight gain as they age and transition through menopause, but that does not mean there aren't ways to help them combat the issue,” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, NAMS medical director.
She added, “This presentation promises to provide some valuable insights that healthcare professionals can leverage when providing weight management advice to their menopause patients."
Kapoor E. Are Midlife Women Doomed to Gain Weight? Presented at: North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting. October 12-15, Atlanta, Georgia.