Enjoy Your Menopause!

August 2, 2008

Menopause and Middle Age Spread

Filed under: menopause — Beverly Mahone @ 1:37 pm
Tags: , ,

For most women, increases and shifts in weight begin during perimenopause — the years leading up to menopause. On average, women gain about a pound a year during this time.

But changing hormone levels associated with menopause aren’t necessarily the cause of weight gain. Aging and lifestyle factors play a big role in your changing body composition, including:

  • Exercising less. Menopausal women tend to exercise less than other women, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Eating more. Eating more means you’ll take in more calories, which are converted to fat if you don’t burn them for energy.
  • Burning fewer calories. The number of calories you need for energy decreases as you age because aging promotes the replacement of muscle with fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat does. When your body composition shifts to more fat and less muscle, your metabolism slows down.

Genetic factors may play a role in weight gain as well. If your parents and other close relatives carry extra weight around the abdomen, you may be predisposed to do so, too.

Weight gain can also have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. These factors also put you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

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