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J Clin Epidemiol. 1998 Dec;51(12):1271-6.

Prospective study of factors influencing the onset of natural menopause.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Medicine and Kaplan Comprehensive Cancer Center, New York University School of Medicine, New York, USA.


Late or early menopause has been implicated in risk of several chronic diseases in women. To study factors influencing the onset of natural menopause, the authors analyzed the follow-up data of 4694 premenopausal women who enrolled in the New York University Women Study at ages 34-61. In an average of 5.4 years of observation, there were 2035 incidences of menopause, with the median age of 51.3 years. Current smokers experienced menopause 0.75 years earlier than never-smokers. Those who smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day had a 40% increase in risk of earlier menopause. In contrast, women who had three or more children experienced menopause 0.86 years later than nulliparous women, and Jewish women, 0.66 years later than Catholic women. There was also a modest increase in the age at menopause with increasing body mass index. This prospective study provides solid epidemiologic evidence that several factors other than cigarette smoking have impact on the onset of natural menopause.

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