Menopause causes 'spare tyre' but no weight gain

Contrary to popular perception, menopause does not cause weight gain, although it does increase fat around the waist, a specialist journal reported Tuesday.

Scientists working for the International Society carried out a review of the evidence, looking at published studies into the impact of menopause on body weight.

Where weight gain occurred, it did not occur through hormonal factors, which means that menopause cannot be blamed, they found.

However, they concluded that the loss of the female hormone oestrogen leads to a change in the pattern of body fat, which shifts from the hips to the abdomen.

"It is a myth that the menopause causes a woman to gain weight," said lead investigator Susan Davis, a professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

"It's really just a consequence of and ageing which cause that. But there is no doubt that the new spare tyre many women complain of after menopause is real," she said.

"This is the body's response to the fall in oestrogen at menopause—a shift of fat storage from the hips to the waist."

Previous research has found that on average a woman in Western society gains around 0.5 kilos (1.1 pounds) per year after the age of 50. is influenced by genetic and , especially a and snacking on fatty and .

"What this translates to in real terms is that women going through the menopause should begin to try to control their weight before it becomes a problem, so if you have not been looking after yourself before the menopause, you should certainly start to do so when it arrives," Davis said in a press release.

"This means for all women being thoughtful about what you eat, and for many being more active every day."

The study, published ahead of World Menopause Day on Thursday, appears in the society's journal, Climacteric.

Related Stories

Weight gain increases breast cancer risk

date Jul 13, 2006

Women who gain weight as young adults have a greater risk of developing breast cancer after menopause than women who maintain or lose weight, a study says.

Study ties early menopause to heart attack, stroke

date Sep 28, 2012

Women who experience early menopause are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than women whose menopause occurs at a later age, according to a new study by Melissa Wellons, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine in ...

International experts clarify hormonal changes of menopause

date Feb 16, 2012

A panel of US and international experts met in September 2011, in Washington, DC, to review the latest scientific data on the hormonal changes that mark reproductive aging in women and to reach consensus on defining the reproductive ...

Smoking linked to early menopause in women

date Oct 18, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in the journal Menopause adds one more reason for women to avoid or give up the smoking habit. The study results show that women who light up are more likely to sta ...

Recommended for you

Increased morbidity, mortality in food system industries

date 2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Occupational morbidity and mortality are elevated across food system industries compared with nonfood system industries, according to a study published online May 12 in the Journal of Occupational an ...

Three issues to consider before selecting EHR

date 3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Work flow, features and functionality, and technical infrastructure should all be considered in advance of selecting an electronic heath record (EHR) system, according to an article published ...

Research letter: Indoor tanning rates drop among US adults

date 4 hours ago

Indoor tanning rates dropped among adults from 5.5 percent in 2010 to 4.2 percent in 2013, although an estimated 7.8 million women and 1.9 million men still engage in the practice, which has been linked to increased cancer ...

Stunting remains a challenge in South Africa

date 5 hours ago

Stunting remains stubbornly persistent in South Africa, despite economic growth, political and social transitions, and national nutritional programmes, says a Wits-led research team.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.