According to a study conducted at Finland’s University of Jyvaskyla, menopause increases women’s body fat, particularly around the waist. Women in their forties and fifties should prioritize healthy lifestyle choices like physical activity to avoid the health concerns associated with fat accumulation. The research was published in the journal “Aging Cell.”

Women tend to gain more fat in their bodies before and throughout menopause, and fat distribution varies across the body. Before menopause, women had more fat in their thighs and buttocks than men, but by midlife, many women experience an increase in stomach fat. Aside from the total amount, the location of this adipose tissue is essential to an individual’s health, particularly given the link between mid-region fat and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

 “Aging causes an increase in total body adipose tissue accumulation in both men and women,” says Hanna-Kaarina Juppi, a Ph.D. researcher. “Despite the research, the significance of menopause in modifying fat distribution remains debatable.” Because women are usually postmenopausal for decades, it is vital to analyze these changes and appreciate their health implications.”

This study followed middle-aged women approaching menopause for up to four years during the menopausal transition. Women’s blood was analyzed for body composition, mid-thigh adipose tissue area, and adipose-derived hormones at the beginning and end of the experiment. 

Furthermore, information on physical activity, food, and hormone therapy use was acquired. Fat accumulation in muscle fibers was also studied. During the follow-ups, the researchers noticed an increase in fat mass across the body, with a noticeable rise in the waist region. During the experiment, women who were more physically active and ate a healthier diet had less fat mass. The use of hormone preparations had no association with body fat.”

 According to the statistics, menopause causes an increase in body fat in women. “Our subjects’ increased adipose tissue exhibited only mild adverse effects on adipose-derived hormones that reflect metabolic health,” Juppi explains. We believe that our participants’ overall healthy lifestyle choices contributed to their ability to sustain metabolic health in the face of increased fat mass and menopause.

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