Menopausal transition is marked by numerous physiological changes, one of the most distressing being unwanted weight gain.
This phenomenon not only impacts a woman’s self-esteem but is also linked with a plethora of health concerns like heart disease, cancer, and declines in cognition and mental well-being.
The Menopause Society at its 2023 Annual Meeting, held from September 27–30, presented significant insights and strategies to manage weight during this critical phase.
Weight Gain in Midlife
For women undergoing menopause, weight gain is usually resultant from a combination of aging, hormonal alterations, and lifestyle choices.
Aging often sees a decline in physical activity and lean mass, leading to reduced energy expenditure.
The hormonal imbalance, characterized by diminished estrogen levels during menopause, affects body fat distribution, enhances central adiposity, and accelerates the loss of lean mass, affecting the heart and joints and intensifying other menopausal symptoms.
Proactive Strategies for Weight Management
Although common, weight gain during menopause is not inevitable.
Dr. Maria Daniela Hurtado from the Mayo Clinic emphasized the importance of early counseling and guidance on incorporating lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes and increased physical activity to control weight gain during midlife.
She highlighted that comprehensive lifestyle interventions, including medical nutrition therapy, exercise, and behavioral interventions, remain crucial in any treatment plan aimed at preventing weight gain or inducing weight loss.
Special Considerations and Challenges
Dr. Hurtado pointed out specific considerations regarding dietary content and the type of exercise for midlife women.
She highlighted the challenges faced due to compensatory changes in appetite and energy expenditure after lifestyle modification-induced weight loss, often resulting in weight regain.
Thus, there has been a growing inclination towards incorporating anti-obesity medications and surgical interventions along with lifestyle modifications to counter these challenges effectively.
Professional Insight and Application
Dr. Stephanie Faubion, the medical director for The Menopause Society, notes that understanding various approaches to weight management can equip healthcare professionals to share the most recent findings with their patients, addressing a commonly raised issue by many women at midlife.
This understanding is imperative for helping women navigate through the physiological changes experienced during menopause efficiently.
Weight gain during menopause, driven by hormonal changes, aging, and lifestyle, has significant implications on a woman’s health and quality of life.
Addressing this issue requires comprehensive lifestyle interventions focusing on dietary modifications, exercise, and behavioral changes, underscored by Dr. Hurtado’s presentation.
Additionally, the adoption of anti-obesity medications and surgical interventions in conjunction with lifestyle changes is emerging as a solution to combat the compensatory changes leading to weight regain.
This multidimensional approach can empower healthcare professionals and women going through menopause to manage weight gain more effectively, promoting overall well-being during this pivotal life transition.
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For more information about weight loss, please see recent studies that Mediterranean diet can reduce belly fat much better, and Keto diet could help control body weight and blood sugar in diabetes.
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