Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 03:46 pm

The middle-age spread is real, with a study confirming what women in perimenopause have long suspected – menopause does make fat go up.

The 40s may be the new 30s, but there is no denying the middle-age spread.

If you have to work harder to keep the weight off in your 40s, you’re not alone – a new study has found that women undergoing perimenopause lost lean body mass and more than doubled their fat mass.

The research demonstrates that body mass index (BMI) is a less useful gauge of cardio-metabolic risk in older women.

What is perimenopause?

The menopause transition, also known as perimenopause, is the time in a woman’s life when hormonal changes lead to irregular menstruation, hot flashes and other symptoms leading up to menopause when menstruation stops altogether.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Why BMI become unreliable

The relationship between menopause and changes in body composition has not been well understood.

To address this, researchers examined 18 years of data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation assessing women’s body composition before and after their final menstrual period, accounting for race/ethnicity and hormone therapy.

The study found that a simple measurement of body weight does not illustrate what is happening “under the skin”. Other research has found that, as women grow older, body mass index (BMI) becomes a less reliable predictor of conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

These menopause-related shifts in fat and lean mass may be one of the reasons for the decline in the ability to predict the capacity of body mass index in older women.

Source: University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences via

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.