Effect of climacteric transition and hormone replacement therapy on body weight and body fat distribution.Gynecol Endocrinol. 2006 Mar; 22(3):145-50.GE
In the present study we evaluated the effects of climacteric modifications on body weight and fat distribution. From women attending a menopause clinic we selected 2175 untreated, normal healthy women who were divided into three groups: premenopausal (n = 540), perimenopausal (n = 750) and postmenopausal (n = 885), and compared them with 354 postmenopausal women receiving different forms of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The total body fat tissue mass and distribution were analyzed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Body weight and body mass index (BMI) were significantly higher in perimenopausal and postmenopausal than in premenopausal women. Mean total body fat and fat as a percentage of soft tissue were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in the perimenopausal and postmenopausal groups than in the premenopausal group. Fat tissue and regional fat tissue as a percentage of total fat tissue were higher in the trunk (p < 0.0001) and arms (p < 0.0001) in perimenopausal and postmenopausal than in premenopausal women. In postmenopausal women, leg fat tissue was significantly (p < 0.05) lower than in premenopausal and perimenopausal groups. Total body and leg lean tissue were significantly lower (p < 0.05) in postmenopausal than in premenopausal and perimenopausal women. In age-matched women with similar BMI, total body fat as a percentage of soft tissue was significantly (p < 0.001) higher in the perimenopausal and postmenopausal groups than in the premenopausal group. As for body fat distribution, fat as a percentage of total fat tissue was significantly higher in the trunk (p < 0.0001) region in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women compared with the premenopausal group. In the legs, fat as a percentage of total fat tissue was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the premenopausal than in the postmenopausal group. In the arms a slight but not significant (p < 0.18) difference was shown in fat distribution between the three untreated groups. In age-matched HRT-treated postmenopausal women, the fat tissue was similar to that in the premenopausal group. The present results confirm that endocrine changes during the menopausal transition, rather than the aging process, are related to changes in body weight and fat distribution. Perimenopausal and postmenopausal women show a shift to a central, android fat distribution that can be counteracted by HRT.