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Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Feb 1;153(3):256-64.

Testosterone concentrations in women aged 25-50 years: associations with lifestyle, body composition, and ovarian status.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


While there is substantial evidence of the importance of endogenous and exogenous estrogen in reproductive health and chronic disease, there is little consideration of androgens in women's health. In the Michigan Bone Health Study (1992-1995), the authors examined the correlates of testosterone concentrations in pre- and perimenopausal women (i.e., age, menopausal status, body composition, and lifestyle behaviors) in a population-based longitudinal study including three annual examinations among 611 women aged 25-50 years identified through a census in a midwestern community. Current smokers had the highest testosterone concentrations with decreasing values in former and nonsmokers (p = 0.0001). Body composition measures (body mass index, body fat (%), weight (kg), lean body mass (kg), and fat mass (kg)) were significantly and positively associated with total testosterone concentrations in a dose-response manner. Hysterectomy with oophorectomy was associated with significantly lower testosterone concentrations. Alcohol consumption, physical activity, and dietary macronutrient intake were not associated with testosterone concentrations. This is one of the first studies to examine correlates of serum testosterone concentrations in anticipation of the growing interest in the role of androgens in women's health. The greater circulating levels of testosterone in obese women and smokers suggest that testosterone concentrations should be considered in the natural history of disease conditions where obesity and smoking are risk factors, including cardiovascular disease.

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