Earlier Menarche Linked to Overall Adiposity

No association identified for parity or menopausal age with measures of adiposity

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Earlier menarche is associated with overall adiposity, according to a study published online Oct. 23 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Subbulaxmi Trikudanathan, M.B.B.S., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the association of female reproductive factors (age at menarche, parity, age at natural menopause, menopausal status) with body composition data among women who participated in the Offspring and the Third Generation Framingham Heart Study cohorts. Multi-detector computerized tomography was used to measure visceral adiposity (VAT) and subcutaneous adiposity (SAT).

The researchers found that earlier age at menarche was significantly associated with increased body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), VAT, and SAT, although the association was no longer significant after adjusting for BMI. No association was observed between parity and any parameter of adiposity measurements. There was no association between age at natural menopause and measures of body composition. Mean VAT was not different between pre- and postmenopausal women, despite higher mean BMI among the postmenopausal women (BMI, 27.3 versus 25.9 kg/m²).

"Earlier age at menarche is associated with overall adiposity, but is not specific to VAT or SAT," the authors write. "Parity and age at menopause were not associated with parameters of central or generalized adiposity. However, postmenopausal women had higher levels of adiposity, which appears to be predominantly due to age."

One author is an employee of Merck.

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