Effect of aging, menopause, and age at natural menopause on the trend in body mass index: a 15-year population-based cohort

Aging and menopause are independently associated with increasing body mass index. During 15 years of follow-up, women with higher age at natural menopause (ANM) experience decreasing BMI after menopause compared with those with lower ANM.

Volume 111, Issue 4, Pages 780–786


Seyed Ali Montazeri, M.D., M.P.H., Fahimeh Ramezani Tehrani, M.D., Razieh Bidhendi Yarandi, M.Sc., Hadi Erfani, M.D., Mohammad Ali Mansournia, M.D., Ph.D., Fereidoun Azizi, M.D.



To observe the effects of menopause, age at natural menopause (ANM), and aging on the trend in body mass index (BMI).


Prospective cohort with a 15-year follow-up of 929 women. Data obtained from the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study.


Not applicable.




Of women participating in the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study, 929 who were reproductive during the study and menopaused at the last follow-up were included. Anthropometric data were measured repeatedly every 3 years, and the trend in BMI, associated with menopause and ANM, was tested using the generalized estimating equation.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Body mass index in each follow-up session.


The adjusted model of the generalized estimating equation illustrates that BMI increases by age (β = 0.16) and menopausal status (β = 1.11). It also shows that women with higher ANM experienced a decreasing BMI (β = −0.03) compared with women with lower ANM. The interaction term of menopause and time (menopause × time) has a negative effect on BMI; that is, the usual increase in BMI after menopause is attenuated by time. (β = −0.4, 95% confidence interval −0.6, −0.3).


Menopause and aging are independently correlated with increasing BMI. The trend in BMI, however, depends on the ANM of study participants: women with higher ANM than mean ANM of our population (i.e., 49 years) face a decreasing BMI compared with those with lower ANM.

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