Lower resting and total energy expenditure in postmenopausal compared with premenopausal women matched for abdominal obesity.
Hodson L., Harnden K., Banerjee R., Real B., Marinou K., Karpe F., Fielding BA.
The menopause is accompanied by increased risk of obesity, altered body fat distribution and decreased skeletal muscle mass. The resulting decrease in RMR should be accompanied by a compensatory change in energy balance to avoid weight gain. We aimed to investigate habitual energy intake and expenditure in pre- and postmenopausal women matched for abdominal obesity. We recruited fifty-one healthy Caucasian women, BMI > 18·5 and <35 kg/m(2), aged 35-45 years (premenopausal, n 26) and 55-65 years (postmenopausal, n 25). Energy intake was measured using 3 d diet diaries and dietary fat quality assessed using adipose tissue fatty acid biomarkers. RMR was measured using indirect calorimetry, and total energy expenditure (TEE) and activity energy expenditure using a combined accelerometer and heart rate monitor. Postmenopausal women had lower RMR and TEE and spent significantly less time undertaking moderate exercise than premenopausal women. Postmenopausal women had a tendency for a lower energy intake, and a similar macronutrient intake but a significantly lower adipose tissue n-6:n-3 ratio (24·6 (se 1·6) v. 37·7 (se 3·1); P < 0·001). The main lifestyle determinant of bone mineral density (which was significantly lower in postmenopausal women) was TEE for premenopausal women, and dietary n-6:n-3 ratio for postmenopausal women. The present results suggest that weight maintenance is achieved in the post- compared with premenopausal status through a combination of reduced energy intake and reduced TEE in a regimen that compromises micronutrient intake and has a negative impact on lean tissue mass. However, lower n-6:n-3 fatty acid intake in postmenopausal women is associated with greater bone mineral density.