Details of Publication 311 for Project A165:

van Poppel M & Brown W. “It's my hormones doctor” – does physical activity help with menopausal symptoms? Menopause - Journal of the North American Menopause Society, 2008; 15(1): 78-85

Background: Many women experience health problems when going through menopause, and these health problems may result in a substantial reduction in quality of life. There are some indications that physical activity may play a role in ameliorating menopausal symptoms, but there is conflicting evidence about this.Objective: To assess the relationship between changes in physical activity and self-reported vasomotor, somatic and psychological symptoms. Design: Data from the third (2001) and fourth (2004) surveys of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) were used. Data from 3,330 mid-age women were included in the analyses. In linear regression models, the relationship between changes in physical activity of at least moderate intensity and total menopausal symptoms, vasomotor, somatic and psychological symptoms was determined. Results: Physical activity was not associated with total menopausal symptoms, nor with vasomotor or psychological symptoms. A weak association with somatic symptoms (B = -0.003; 95% CI: -0.005 - -0.001) was found. Weight gain was associated with increased total, vasomotor and somatic symptoms. Weight loss was associated with a reduction in total and vasomotor symptoms.Conclusion: Changes in physical activity were not related to vasomotor or psychological symptoms, and only marginally to somatic symptoms. Changes in weight showed a stronger relationship with menopausal symptoms. Relationships between weight change and menopausal symptoms merit further exploration.

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