Weight And Menopause Timing
Women who are underweight could reach menopause years earlier than their normal weight peers, which might increase their risk of serious health problems. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst who followed 78,759 women between the ages of 25 to 42 for 22 years beginning in 1989 report that 2,804 of these women reached natural menopause before age 45. After ruling out risk factors such as smoking, number of pregnancies and the use of birth control pills, the researchers found that women who had a body mass index (BMI) under 18.5 at any age had a 30 percent increased risk of early menopause compared with lean or normal weight women. (The BMI for normal weight is 18.5 to 22.4.) The researchers noted that using the BMI formula to calculate for being underweight, a 5’5” tall woman would weigh 111 pounds or less. Early menopause can lead to serious health consequences, including a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, osteoporosis and premature death. The study also found that overweight women with BMIs between 25-29.9 had a 21 to 30 percent lower risk of early menopause than normal weight women. Study leader Kathleen L. Szegda noted that more research is needed to determine how being underweight increases the risk of early menopause.
Kathleen L. Szegda et al, “Adult adiposity and risk of early menopause.” Human Reproduction, October 25, 2017, doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dex304
Also in this week’s bulletin: