Contrary to popular beliefs, menopause does not cause weight gain, but studies have shown that menopause can cause increased fat around the waist.
Scientists working for the International Menopause Society carried out a review of the evidence, looking at published studies. Where weight gain occurred, it did not occur through hormonal factors, which means that menopause cannot be blamed. However, they did conclude that the loss of the estrogen leads to a change in the pattern of body fat, which shifts from the hips to the abdomen.
"It is a myth that the menopause causes a woman to gain weight," said lead investigator Susan Davis, a professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. "It's really just a consequence of environmental factors and aging which cause that. But there is no doubt that the new spare tire many women complain of after menopause is real," she said. "This is the body's response to the fall in oestrogen at menopause -- a shift of fat storage from the hips to the waist."
Previous research has found that on average a woman in Western society gains around 1.1 pounds per year after the age of 50. Weight gain is influenced by genetic and behavioral factors, especially a sedentary lifestyle and snacking on fatty and sugary foods. "What this translates to in real terms is that women going through the menopause should begin to try to control their weight before it becomes a problem, so if you have not been looking after yourself before the menopause, you should certainly start to do so when it arrives," Davis said in a press release. "This means for all women being thoughtful about what you eat, and for many being more active every day."
To help combat the excess weight gain, it is import to exercise at least 5-6 days a week. We have found that Pilates and yoga are particularly helpful at keeping the spare tire at bay. By combining cardio with core exercises women to not have to succumb to the spare tire that so often comes about after menopause.