New study suggests that lifestyle coaching may be effective in reducing BMI, body fat, and waist circumference

Losing weight during and after menopause is not easy, but it’s not impossible, either. A new study suggests that lifestyle coaching may be effective in reducing body mass index (BMI), body fat, and waist circumference, although the results are more easily obtained by premenopausal women.

It’s a fact that most women gain body weight in the peri- and postmenopausal years with the average weight gain being just under five pounds. The bad news from a health perspective is that much of the weight gain is represented by central abdominal fat which has been proven to cause greater cardiovascular (CVD) risk than general obesity.

In this new study out of Florida, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of lifestyle coaching in helping women set and maintain goals for healthy eating habits and increased physical activity. They additionally compared the results obtained in premenopausal women with peri- and postmenopausal women. Women in both groups participated in a free Health Coaching Program at a primary care clinic.

The results showed that the lifestyle coaching did effectively help decrease BMI, body fat, and waist circumference in all women.

However, peri/postmenopausal women experienced smaller reductions in percentage of body fat and waist circumference. No difference in BMI or lean mass was identified among the groups.

“Our results suggest that lifestyle coaching is worth pursuing but that a longer, more aggressive, or differently tailored, program might be needed for women in peri/postmenopause to achieve maximum health benefits,” says Dr. Silvina Levis, lead author of the study from the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.

“These findings are important in helping women maintain a healthy weight and normal waist circumference, especially since the reduction of central obesity is critical in helping to reduce the risk of CVD,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

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