“Many women think weight gain is part of menopause,
but it’s more likely due to ageing
and associated lifestyle changes”.1

Umbrella
What may the Menopause Weight Gain Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Belly Fat
  • Menopause Weight Gain
  • “Menopot”
  • “Middle Age Spread”

Weight Gain

Is there an association between weight gain and aging?

In Maintaining A Healthy Diet and Weight the European Menopause and Andropause Society note:

“Women gain on average 10 kg between the ages of 40 and 60 years, independently of menopause”.2

Menopause or Aging

Does menopause or aging, cause weight gain?

In Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“Many women think weight gain is part of menopause, but it’s more likely due to ageing and associated lifestyle changes.

Women tend to gain weight as they age, whether they are experiencing menopause or not. On average, women between the ages of 45 and 55 years gain about half a kilo per year.

Ageing causes a decrease in muscle mass, which slows down your metabolism. So, if your diet stays the same, you are likely to gain weight”.3

In Menopause FAQS: Your Health After Menopause – Q. I’m Finding It Harder To Lose Weight Now That I’m Older. Is Menopause To Blame? the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) elaborate on:

“A. Many women gain weight during the menopause transition, although neither menopause nor menopause treatments have been shown to be responsible. Midlife weight gain appears to be mostly related to aging and lifestyle, and although the cause is not menopause, menopause may be related to changes in body composition and where fat is stored, with a decrease in lean body mass”.4

Weight Redistribution

Can menopause cause weight redistribution?

In Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight the JH also explain:

Menopause Weight Gain “Weight gain and increased abdominal (belly) fat is common among women at midlife.

Studies show that reduced levels of oestrogen around menopause cause fat to be stored on the waist, rather than the thighs and hips. In fact, belly fat in postmenopausal women accounts for between 15% and 20% of their total body fat. This compares with 5% to 8% in premenopausal women”.5

In Changes In Weight and Fat Distribution: Does Menopause Affect Body Shape? the NAMS explain:

“Several studies have shown that perimenopause, independent of age, is associated with increased fat in the abdomen as well as decreased lean body mass. This suggests that menopause plays a role in many midlife women’s transition from a pear-shaped body (wide hips and thighs, with more weight below the waist) to an apple-shaped body (wide waist and belly, with more weight above the waist). However, further study is needed on the exact role of menopause in body composition”.6

Increased Risk

Is there an association between abdominal fat and health risks?

In Menopause and Weight – Fact Sheet: Risks of Abdominal Fat the JH notes:

“It’s not healthy to carry too much weight, but weight around your abdomen has more significant health risks. Fat stored in this part of your body is also known as ‘visceral fat’.

Excess visceral fat is linked to:

  • An increased risk of heart disease (one of the leading causes of death for women in Australia)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Dementia”.7

On page one in Are Midlife Women Doomed To Gain Weight? the NAMS elaborate on:

“All this added weight can worsen hot flashes while increasing a woman’s risk of cardiometabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and coronary artery disease. Obesity also increases the risk of cancer in women, including breast and endometrial cancer”.8

Healthy Weight

How can a healthy weight be maintained?

In What Is Menopause? Postmenopause: Healthy Weight the JH elaborate on:

Menopause Weight Gain “It’s very important to maintain a healthy weight at this stage of life. You can do this by:

  • Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains
  • Limiting your intake of processed foods, especially those high in fat and sugar
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Drinking more water.9

In How To Beat Weight Gain At Menopause the authors note:

“Although weight gain, and especially body fat gain, is usual during the menopausal transition, you can beat it.

Rather than menopause being a time to put your feet up, it’s a time to step up your physical activity and boost your efforts to eat a healthy, balanced diet, especially when it comes to the frequency and variety of vegetables you eat”.10

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with weight loss?

If you would like help with weight loss, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Weight Control the (United States) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) elaborate on:

“If you’re thinking about starting a new weight-loss program, talk with your health care provider, who can assess your weight and health risks, determine whether you need to lose weight, and provide information that will help you make informed decisions about an effective weight-loss program”.11

In Weight Control: Safety the NCCIH also caution:

  • “If you’re considering a dietary supplement for weight loss, remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe””.12

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

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Sources

  1. Changes In Weight and Fat Distribution: Age and Lifestyle Are the Main Culprits. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife/changes-in-weight-and-fat-distribution Accessed: 22 October 2022
  2. Maintaining A Healthy Diet and Weight. 2022. European Menopause and Andropause Society https://emas-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Maintaining-a-healthy-diet-and-weight.pdf Accessed: 22 October 2022
  3. Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight. Last Updated: 03 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/looking-after-yourself Accessed: 22 October 2022
  4. Menopause FAQS: Your Health After Menopause – Q. I’m Finding It Harder To Lose Weight Now That I’m Older. Is Menopause To Blame? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-your-health-after-menopause Accessed: 22 October 2022
  5. Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight. Last Updated: 03 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/looking-after-yourself Accessed: 22 October 2022
  6. Changes In Weight and Fat Distribution: Does Menopause Affect Body Shape? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife/changes-in-weight-and-fat-distribution Accessed: 22 October 2022
  7. Menopause and Weight – Fact Sheet: Risks of Abdominal Fat. Last Updated: 03 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources/menopause-and-weight-fact-sheet Accessed: 22 October 2022
  8. Are Midlife Women Doomed To Gain Weight? 12 October 2022:1. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/midlife-weight-gain-presentation-release.pdf Accessed: 22 October 2022
  9. What Is Menopause? Postmenopause: Healthy Weight. Last Updated: 29 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause Accessed: 22 October 2022
  10. Collins, C. E., Hollis, J. L. and Williams, L. T. How To Beat Weight Gain At Menopause. 24 April 2020 https://theconversation.com/how-to-beat-weight-gain-at-menopause-123368 Accessed: 22 October 2022
  11. Weight Control. Last Updated: 24 September 2017. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/weight-control Accessed: 22 October 2022
  12. Weight Control: Safety. Last Updated: 24 September 2017. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/weight-control Accessed: 22 October 2022
Topic Last Updated: 29 October 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 22 October 2022

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