Hormone therapy plus physical activity reduce belly fat, body fat percentage after menopause

TummyOlder women who take hormone therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms may get the added benefit of reduced body fat if they are physically active, according to a new study. The results were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The study provides new information on the health benefits of any type of physical activity, not just exercise, said the presenting author Poli Mara Spritzer, MD, PhD, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and chief of the Gynecological Endocrinology Unit at the university’s Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre.

After menopause, a woman’s percentage of body fat tends to increase and redistribute to the abdomen, Spritzer said. Excess belly fat is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. Postmenopausal women who exercise have a lower percentage of body fat than sedentary women, past research shows. However, Spritzer said less is known about the influence on body fat composition of physical activity in women receiving hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Some data suggest that estrogen treatment may add to the effect of exercise in reducing fat.

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