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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Dec;175(6):1594-600.

Relative influence of age and menopause on total and regional body composition changes in postmenopausal women.

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Unité Fonctionnelle Ménopause et Maladies Métaboliques, Service d'Endocrinologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitai re Purpan, Toulouse, France.



We measured total and regional body composition to evaluate the differences in body composition associated with menopause and to determine whether the changes in fat distribution were more related to age or to menopause.


Two hundred five healthy white women who had never received estrogen replacement therapy were studied according to menopausal status and age. Bone mass and body composition were measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry. The proportions of android and gynoid fat were calculated in all women and differences were sought by statistical analysis.


Compared with premenopausal women, postmenopausal women were characterized by a significant increase in the proportion of android fat and the ratio trunk fat/leg fat, whereas the absolute amount of body fat mass did not significantly change. The different variables of android fat distribution tended to correlate better with years since menopause than with age. In multiple linear regression, years since menopause was a predictor of body fat mass and fat trunk, whereas age was not a predictor of any of the fat distribution variables.


This study underlines the early changes in body fat distribution with a shift of body fat toward a more central location in postmenopausal women. This change in fat distribution appears to be more related to menopause than to age and might, together with other factors, contribute to explain the increased cardiovascular risk reported in postmenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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