We may not like it, but we expect our bodies to change as we age. We get grey hair, our skin begins to wrinkle, and we gain a little weight after menopause, right? Maybe not, says a new study. A recent review released by the International Menopause Society (IMS) claims that menopause does not cause weight gain. The group says that environmental factors, not hormones, cause women to gain weight as they age.
What Causes MidLife Weight Gain in Women?
The literature review conducted by the International Menopause Society is only one research review (and there have been many) that comments on midlife weight gain in women. The results have been mixed, partially because it is nearly impossible to separate hormonal changes from the inevitable lifestyle changes that happen when we get older. The IMS review did acknowledge that hormones change the way fat is distributed on a woman’s body, but study author Professor Susan Davis told Science Daily, “It is a myth that the menopause causes a woman to gain weight.”
Gain Less Weight in Middle Age
So what should you do if you want to maintain your weight through menopause and beyond? Some researchers feel that the key is staying active. One research study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology evaluated how different factors such as age, menopause, and lifestyle changes account for the weight gain often experienced by women in their 40s and 50s. They found that by remaining active, many women prevented weight gain.
For both men and women, staying very physically active throughout middle age and beyond has numerous health benefits. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that we get 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity. Of course, there is not guarantee that it will prevent weight gain entirely, but it’s a great way to minimize the effects of aging and stay healthy.