recommendations for weight gain management in midlife women
October 2, 2017
A review of the weight gain risks and
challenges faced by women in midlife has led researchers to a series of
recommendations for this patient population.
A review of the weight
gain risks and challenges faced by women in midlife has led Mayo Clinic
researchers to a series of recommendations for this patient population. The
findings are published in this month’s edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The average weight gain
for women in their 50s and 60s is 1.5 pounds per year. For this group of women,
much of that weight gain resides in the midsection. This type of fat is linked
to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, which is also the No. 1 cause of
death for postmenopausal women. In addition to cardiovascular disease, central
weight distribution puts this population at risk for abnormal glucose and lipid
levels and high blood pressure.
“This population of
women faces multiple challenges for maintaining a healthy weight,” says
Ekta Kapoor, M.B.B.S., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and the study’s lead
author. “Mood changes, sleep disturbances, hot flashes and the many other
changes of menopause can disrupt what may have previously been a healthy lifestyle.”
Mayo Clinic Women’s
Health researchers recommend primary care providers screen this population of
women for being overweight, and establish behavioral interventions, including
psychological support, regular physical activity and changes in eating habits.
For those who are early
into menopause, hormone therapy may be a consideration to manage menopausal
symptoms. Decreasing menopausal symptoms enables women to focus on healthy
With hormones and
metabolism against them, postmenopausal women face some of the highest rates of
obesity in the country.
“In addition to the
usual adverse consequences of obesity, postmenopausal women face some unique
challenges posed by obesity, including worse hot flashes, sexual dysfunction
and an increased cancer risk,” says Dr. Kapoor. “Targeting the
lifestyle habits during midlife and beyond will help prevent further health
consequences down the road. It’s never too late to start making healthy
1. Ekta Kapoor, Maria L.
Collazo-Clavell, Stephanie S. Faubion. Weight Gain in Women at Midlife: A
Concise Review of the Pathophysiology and Strategies for Management. Mayo
Clinic Proceedings, 2017; 92 (10): 1552 DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.08.004