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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2018 Aug;72(8):733-740. doi: 10.1136/jech-2017-209887. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Dietary intake and age at natural menopause: results from the UK Women's Cohort Study.

Author information

1
Nutritional Epidemiology Group, School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
2
Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Age at natural menopause is a matter of concern for women of reproductive age as both an early or late menopause may have implications for health outcomes.

METHODS:

Study participants were women aged 40-65 years who had experienced a natural menopause from the UK Women's Cohort Study between baseline and first follow-up. Natural menopause was defined as the permanent cessation of menstrual periods for at least 12 consecutive months. A food frequency questionnaire was used to estimate diet at baseline. Reproductive history of participants was also recorded. Regression modelling, adjusting for confounders, was used to assess associations between diet and age at natural menopause.

RESULTS:

During the 4-year follow-up period, 914 women experienced a natural menopause. A high intake of oily fish and fresh legumes were associated with delayed onset of natural menopause by 3.3 years per portion/day (99% CI 0.8 to 5.8) and 0.9 years per portion/day (99% CI 0.0 to 1.8), respectively. Refined pasta and rice was associated with earlier menopause (per portion/day: -1.5 years, 99% CI -2.8 to -0.2). A higher intake of vitamin B6 (per mg/day: 0.6 years, 99% CI 0.1 to 1.2) and zinc (per mg/day: 0.3 years, 99% CI -0.0 to 0.6) was also associated with later age at menopause. Stratification by age at baseline led to attenuated results.

CONCLUSION:

Our results suggest that some food groups (oily fish, fresh legumes, refined pasta and rice) and specific nutrients are individually predictive of age at natural menopause.

KEYWORDS:

UKWCS; diet; food groups; natural menopause; nutrients

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: JEC is a director of the University of Leeds spin out company Dietary Assessment.

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