North American Menopause Society

North American Menopause Society

October 11, 2017
3 min watch
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VIDEO: Menopausal weight gain best tackled with behavioral approaches

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PHILADELPHIA — Many women struggle with the accelerated weight gain that occurs during the menopause transition, according to Rebecca C. Thurston, PhD.

In this video exclusive, Thurston, who is professor of psychiatry, clinical and translational science, epidemiology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she runs the women’s biobehavioral health laboratory, reviews strategies for managing weight in midlife.

“We know from our large studies where we follow women over the menopause transition, the women who do not gain weight are the ones who are very physically active,” Thurston said. Moderate to vigorous physical activity for 40 to 50 minutes on 5 days per week can prevent excessive weight gain.

“When it comes to weight loss, about 75% of it is how you do it, and 25% is knowledge about food, but even [for] women and people who know what proper nutrition looks like, it’s just hard to do,” Thurston said.

“How you do it” means behavior. Behavioral weight-loss strategies work best for midlife women who have already gained weight; tactics include keeping a food diary, tracking physical activity and self-weighing daily. Group support also helps, according to Thurston.