Hormone therapy plus physical activity reduce belly fat, body fat percentage after menopause

Jun 10, 2009

Older women who take hormone therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms may get the added benefit of reduced body fat if they are physically active, according to a new study.

The study provides new information on the health benefits of any type of physical activity, not just exercise, said the presenting author Poli Mara Spritzer, MD, PhD, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and chief of the Gynecological Endocrinology Unit at the university's Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre.

After menopause, a woman's percentage of body fat tends to increase and redistribute to the abdomen, Spritzer said. Excess belly fat is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. Postmenopausal women who exercise have a lower percentage of body fat than sedentary women, past research shows. However, Spritzer said less is known about the influence on body fat composition of physical activity in women receiving hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Some data suggest that estrogen treatment may add to the effect of exercise in reducing fat.

Spritzer and her colleagues studied 34 healthy women who had an average age of 51 years, had experienced menopause for less than 3 years and sought HRT to relieve hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. They evaluated the women's , body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (a measure of abdominal fat) and percentage of body fat before and after 4 months of HRT. The women received estrogen plus progesterone therapy in either non-oral (nasal and vaginal) or low-dose oral preparations. For 6 consecutive days before starting HRT and 6 days at the end of HRT, women wore a pedometer to estimate their level of physical activity. The device measured the steps they took, including walking, working, and doing house chores and leisure activities. They were instructed to not change their usual activities. Most of the women did not play sports or do any structured physical exercise, according to Spritzer.

Results showed that 24 of the women were physically active—defined as taking 6,000 steps or more per day—and 10 were inactive (less than 6,000 steps a day). For a woman who has a step, or stride, length of 2 feet (60 cm), 6,000 steps would be around 2.25 miles (3.6 km), Spritzer estimated. For active women, the higher the number of steps they took, the lower was their waist measurement and the better their level of "good" (high-density-lipoprotein, or HDL) cholesterol, the authors reported. The inactive women did not have any changes in body fat or cholesterol. However, when all 34 women were considered in the analysis, body fat still declined significantly after HRT.

"Data from our study suggest that active could benefit from hormone therapy beyond the relief of menopausal symptoms—by preserving a good percentage and distribution," Spritzer said. "Further studies with a larger number of subjects are needed in order to answer whether a specific physical activity is better than others."

Source: The Endocrine Society (news : web)

Explore further: FDA approves hard-to-abuse narcotic painkiller

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Have migraine? Bigger waistline may be linked

Feb 12, 2009

Overweight people who are between the ages of 20 and 55 may have a higher risk of experiencing migraine headaches, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual ...

Recommended for you

FDA approves hard-to-abuse narcotic painkiller

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—A new formulation of a powerful narcotic painkiller that discourages potential abusers from snorting or injecting the drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Race affects opioid selection for cancer pain

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Racial disparities exist in the type of opioid prescribed for cancer pain, according to a study published online July 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

FDA approves tough-to-abuse formulation of oxycodone

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Targiniq ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended release) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a long-term, around-the-clock treatment for severe ...

Tough-to-abuse formulation of oxycodone approved

Jul 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Targiniq ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride extended release) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a long-term, around-the-clock treatment for severe pain when other ...

EU regulator: Morning-after pill OK for all women

Jul 24, 2014

(AP)—A commonly used morning-after pill is suitable for use by heavier women, the European Medicines Agency said Thursday after a review of the evidence sparked by the French manufacturer's declaration that the drugs didn't ...

Physicians warned about counterfeit medical devices

Jul 24, 2014

(HealthDay)—Physicians should be aware of the prevalence and serious consequences associated with use of counterfeit medical devices, according to a letter to the editor published online July 20 in Lasers in ...

User comments : 0