“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”

Menopause

Does menopause 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”.2

Aging and Lifestyle

Does aging cause weight gain?

In Attention To Nutrition, Exercise Can Combat Weight Gain, Other Symptoms In Menopause published 16 January 2024, the authors note:

“But most of the existing science suggests that weight gain through this phase is more the result of aging and changing lifestyle than menopause itself. Women experience many life changes through these years, which may include mood disorders, demanding careers, sleep issues, stress related to caregiving or divorce, onset of health issues and other factors that can affect lifestyle habits and weight”.3

Weight Gain

How much weight do women gain on average between the ages of 40 and 60 years?

In Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight the JH continue:

“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”.4

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”.5

Weight Redistribution

What is the association between menopause and weight redistribution?

In Is Menopause Making Me Put on Weight? No, But It’s Complicated: So Does Menopause Cause Weight Gain?, published 12 March 2023, the author elaborates on:

“The short answer is no. But it’s complicated.

When it comes to menopause and weight, it’s weight redistribution – not weight gain – that is actually a symptom. Research has confirmed menopause is linked to an increase in belly fat but not an increase in overall weight”.6

In Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight the JH 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”.7

Menopause Symptoms

Is there an association between abdominal fat and menopause symptoms?

In Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight the JH note:

“Increased belly fat also increases menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes”.8

Health Risks

Is there an association between visceral fat and health risks?

In Menopause and Weight: Risks of Belly Fat the JH explain:

“It’s not healthy to carry too much weight, but weight around your belly 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”.9

On page one in Are Midlife Women Doomed To Gain Weight? the North American Menopause Society also note:

“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”.10

Healthy Weight

How can a healthy weight be maintained?

In What Is Menopause? Perimenopause, Menopause and Postmenopause – 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.11

In Is Menopause Making Me Put on Weight? No, But It’s Complicated: The Bottom Line: Can We Prevent Weight Gain During Menopause? the author elaborates on:

“Menopause itself does not cause weight gain; it unfortunately just occurs during a stage of life when other factors are likely to. The good news is weight gain associated with ageing is not inevitable, and there are many things women can do to avoid weight gain and health risks as they age and experience menopause.

Start with these six steps:

  1. Incorporate daily exercise into your routine, with a mixture of…
  2. Stop dieting…
  3. Curb your sugar cravings naturally…
  4. Create positive habits to minimise comfort-eating…
  5. Eat slowly and away from distractions…
  6. Switch off your technology for a minimum of one hour before bed to improve sleep quality”.12

In The Reality of Menopause Weight Gain: What’s the Best Way To Prevent Menopause Weight Gain? the (United States) Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“There’s no magic formula for preventing — or reversing — menopause weight gain. But sticking to weight-control basics can help:

  1. Move more…
  2. Eat less…
  3. Check your sweet habit…
  4. Limit alcohol…
  5. Seek support…”.13

Health Care Provider

What if I would like support with weight loss?

If you would like support 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”.14

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””.15

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics A-Z related to Menopause Weight Gain?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight. Last Updated: 09 January 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/looking-after-yourself Accessed: 17 January 2024
  2. Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight. Last Updated: 09 January 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/looking-after-yourself Accessed: 17 January 2024
  3. Ward, E., and Wright, H. Attention To Nutrition, Exercise Can Combat Weight Gain, Other Symptoms In Menopause. 16 January 2024 https://www.healio.com/news/womens-health-ob-gyn/20240112/attention-to-nutrition-exercise-can-combat-weight-gain-other-symptoms-in-menopause Accessed: 17 January 2024
  4. Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight. Last Updated: 09 January 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/looking-after-yourself Accessed: 17 January 2024
  5. 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: 17 January 2024
  6. Fuller, N. Is Menopause Making Me Put on Weight? No, But It’s Complicated: So Does Menopause Cause Weight Gain? 12 March 2023. https://theconversation.com/is-menopause-making-me-put-on-weight-no-but-its-complicated-198308 Accessed: 17 January 2024
  7. Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight. Last Updated: 09 January 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/looking-after-yourself Accessed: 17 January 2024
  8. Looking After Yourself: Healthy Weight. Last Updated: 09 January 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/looking-after-yourself Accessed: 17 January 2024
  9. Menopause and Weight: Risks of Belly Fat. Updated: May 2023. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources/fact-sheets/menopause-and-weight Accessed: 17 January 2024
  10. 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: 17 January 2024
  11. What Is Menopause? Perimenopause, Menopause and Postmenopause – Postmenopause: Healthy Weight Last Updated: 07 December 2023 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause Accessed: 17 January 2024
  12. Fuller, N. Is Menopause Making Me Put on Weight? No, But It’s Complicated: The Bottom Line: Can We Prevent Weight Gain During Menopause? 12 March 2023. https://theconversation.com/is-menopause-making-me-put-on-weight-no-but-its-complicated-198308 Accessed: 17 January 2024
  13. The Reality of Menopause Weight Gain: What’s the Best Way To Prevent Menopause Weight Gain? 08 July 2023. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058 Accessed: 17 January 2024
  14. Weight Control. Last Updated: 24 September 2017. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/weight-control Accessed: 17 January 2024
  15. Weight Control: Safety. Last Updated: 24 September 2017. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/weight-control Accessed: 17 January 2024
Topic Last Updated: 14 June 2024 – Topic Last Reviewed: 17 January 2024

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