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Is weight gain a “side-effect” of menopause?

Weight gain is not inevitable at menopause.  However, many women find that it is more difficult to manage weight after menopause.  One reason for this is related to changes in body composition that occur with aging, some of which may be influenced by the hormonal changes that occur as a result of menopause, and some of which are related to lifestyle changes as we get older.  As we age, some lean body mass (muscle, organs) changes to fat mass. Our metabolic rate, which is the calories needed to sustain life, is related to lean body mass, and as a result of these changes that occur with aging, it decreases. The net result is that fewer calories are used daily, and often the small decreases in daily calorie intake that are needed to maintain weight are not made, and weight creeps up.  The best way to prevent weight gain is to be physically active and to be aware of how many calories are needed each day to maintain weight. Closely watch portion sizes and calorie intake.  Keeping a food diary can help with this.  Try to get at least one hour of accumulated physical activity each day such as walking, gardening, and exercising. Click here to find out how many calories are needed each day to maintain weight, and how much of different food groups should be consumed each day.  Eating recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables as part of a weight management program will help with efforts to maintain weight. 

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