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Why women should eat less, move more and consider wearing transdermal HRT patches during menopause
Date:11/24/2008

Weight and appetite experts from around the world met at a conference in Bangkok earlier this year to discuss sex differences in obesity. One line of discussion looked at factors leading to women's weight gain during menopause, and how it might be avoided.

Co-chairs of the conference, Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Dr Jennifer Lovejoy from the University of Washington, Seattle have summarised the conference consensus for the December issue of Obesity Reviews. The paper is now available online.

"One of the most interesting things that came out of the conference with applicability to large numbers of women was the discussion about why women gain weight during menopause," said Dr Sainsbury-Salis.

"So many women get confused when they start to gain weight during menopause, because their eating habits haven't changed."

"What the research shows clearly is that menopause causes a dramatic and sudden reduction in physical activity levels. Just prior to menopause, women halve their amount of activity compared to pre-menopause levels."

"So one reason women gain weight in menopause is because of a reduction in energy expenditure. Combine this with unchanged eating habits and weight gain is almost inevitable."

"We don't know exactly why menopausal women stop moving as much. But we know it's not because of their age and the lifestyle constraints happening at that time of life. Research suggests it's directly related to the lack of oestrogen, which has dramatic effects on signals the brain sends to the body. We're doing research to see what causes these effects and whether or not they continue long-term.

"A lot of women ask whether they can actively counteract that tendency. In fact, it's been shown that women who maintain or increase their level of physical activity during menopause tend to come out the other end without gaining weight."

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Contact: Alison Heather
a.heather@garvan.org.au
61-434-071-326
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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