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The associations of childhood adiposity with menopausal symptoms in women aged 45-49 years: An Australian Cohort Study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 22:03 authored by He, Y, Jing TianJing Tian, Wendy OddyWendy Oddy, Christopher BlizzardChristopher Blizzard, Terry DwyerTerry Dwyer, Hickey, M, Alison VennAlison Venn

Objectives: To examine the associations of childhood adiposity with menopausal symptoms in women aged 45-49 years.

Study design: National population-based cohort study of 334 girls prospectively followed from childhood (aged 11-15) through to midlife (aged 45-49). Childhood overweight and obesity were defined by international age- and sex-specific standards for body mass index (BMI), and abdominal obesity was defined as waist/height ratio≥0.5.

Main outcome measures: Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), vaginal dryness, total menopausal symptoms and domain-specific symptoms (somatic, psychological and urogenital) were measured during 2018-19 using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) and classified as none, mild, moderate or severe.

Results: The prevalence of mild, moderate and severe VMS was 24.0 %, 9.0 % and 3.9 %, and of vaginal dryness was 12.6 %, 4.8 % and 2.4 %. No significant associations of childhood overweight/obesity or abdominal obesity with VMS or vaginal dryness were found after adjustment for childhood age, follow-up length, smoking, socioeconomic status and diet quality. Childhood overweight/obesity was associated with increased risks of more severe total (RR:1.17, 95 % CI:1.02-1.36), psychological (RR:1.19, 95 % CI:1.04-1.35) and urogenital (RR:1.29, 95 % CI:1.14-1.46) symptoms measured using the MRS. Associations with childhood abdominal obesity were mostly stronger with more severe total (RR:2.19, 95 % CI:1.48-3.23), somatic (RR:1.52, 95 % CI:1.15-2.02), psychological (RR:1.21, 95 % CI:1.04-1.42) and urogenital (RR:2.11, 95 % CI:1.39-3.20) symptoms.

Conclusions: Childhood adiposity was not associated with increased risks of more severe VMS or vaginal dryness in women aged 45-49 years. Childhood adiposity, especially abdominal obesity, was associated with more severe total, somatic, psychological and urogenital symptoms. However, the association between these symptoms and menopause is not established.


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Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Elsevier/North Holland Biomedical Press

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2020 Elsevier B.V.

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Socio-economic Objectives

Prevention of human diseases and conditions