/publications/issue/2004/2004-03/2004-03-7735

Menopause's Role in Obesity

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A majority of women gain weight during menopause.Now, a new study showing how female hormones appear to play a major role in the nation's obesity epidemic may offer new insight into how to battle obesity. "The goal of this research was to determine whether, and to what extent, the decline in these hormones has an effect on body weight in an effort to better understand and proactively treat obesity," said researcher Judy Cameron, PhD.

For the study, Dr. Cameron and her colleagues looked at 47 adult monkeys. Nineteen of the monkeys had their ovaries surgically removed, resulting in a decline in estrogen and progesterone levels, similar to menopause. The remaining 28 monkeys were in the control group. The results of the study showed a 67% increase in food intake and a 5% jump in weight gain among the monkeys without the hormones, said Dr. Cameron. Also, the study noted the connection between the loss of ovaries in the monkeys and a change in metabolism. The team plans to conduct further research in this area to better understand metabolism changes through life related to menopause and other factors.