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Menopause Int. 2008 Mar;14(1):26-32. doi: 10.1258/mi.2007.007034.

Quality of life in obese postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Health Services Research Section, ScHARR, Sheffield, UK.


The aim of this review was to identify the ways in which obesity affects the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of postmenopausal women. This was considered important because a growing body of literature has identified obesity as a significant predictor for a poor psychological wellbeing and negative HRQoL, particularly in women, and because during the transition through the menopause women tend to accumulate more body weight. After searching eight electronic databases, only nine papers appeared meaningful. Although a meta-analysis was not possible, we found that a body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2 was associated with a poor HRQoL in postmenopausal women; particularly in the areas associated with physical functioning, energy and vitality, and health perceptions. Thus, clinical management of obese postmenopausal women should focus on weight reduction and exercise in an attempt to improve wellbeing in these areas. However, the paucity of research, the different instruments chosen to measure HRQoL and the methodological limitations of the studies identified, prevented firm conclusions being made about whether the relationship between BMI and HRQoL is linear in postmenopausal women. Further research is needed to explore this relationship; particularly in comparison with underweight postmenopausal women and obese premenopausal women, where a few papers have identified these women as having a worse HRQoL than their obese postmenopausal counterparts. Other measures of central adiposity, including waist circumference and waist-hip ratio are recommended as useful supplemental measures to BMI in future studies.

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