The relation between the menopause transition (MT) and changes in regional fat distribution is uncertain.
To determine whether the MT is associated with the development of central adiposity.
Longitudinal analysis from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, spanning 1996-2013 (median follow-up 11.8 years).
Community-based.
380 women with regional body composition measures by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Mean baseline age was 45.7 years; racial/ethnic composition was 16% Black, 41% Japanese and 43% White.
Changes in android, gynoid and visceral fat and waist and hip circumferences.
Android fat increased by 1.21% per year (py) and 5.54% py during premenopause and the MT, respectively (each p<0.05). Visceral and gynoid fat began increasing at the MT, annualized changes were 6.24% and 2.03%, respectively (each p <0.05). Postmenopausal annual trajectories decelerated to 1.47% (visceral), 0.90% (android), and -0.87% (gynoid), (all non-zero, p <0.05). Waist girth grew during premenopause (0.55% py), the MT (0.96% py), and postmenopause (0.55% py) (all non-zero, p<0.05; not statistically different from each other). Hip girth grew during premenopause (0.20% py) and the MT (0.35% py) (each non-zero, p<0.05; not statistically different from each other) and decelerated to zero slope in postmenopause. Results are for the White referent; there were statistically significant differences in some trajectories in Black and Japanese women.
The MT is associated with the development of central adiposity. Waist or hip circumferences are less sensitive to changes in fat distribution.

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