How risky is weight gain after menopause?

Menopause weight gain can have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer, including colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

What's the best way to prevent weight gain after menopause?

There's no magic formula for preventing — or reversing — menopause weight gain. Simply stick to weight-control basics:

  • Move more. Aerobic activity can help you shed excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Strength training counts, too. As you gain muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently — which makes it easier to control your weight. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, for at least 75 minutes a week. In addition, strength training exercises are recommended at least twice a week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you might need to exercise more.
  • Eat less. To maintain your current weight — let alone lose excess pounds — you might need about 200 fewer calories a day during your 50s than you did during your 30s and 40s. To reduce calories without skimping on nutrition, pay attention to what you're eating and drinking. Choose more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Opt for lean sources of protein.
  • Seek support. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who'll support your efforts to eat a healthy diet and increase your physical activity. Better yet, team up and make the lifestyle changes together.

Remember, successful weight loss at any stage of life requires permanent changes in diet and exercise habits. Take a brisk walk every day. Try a yoga class. Swap cookies for fresh fruit. Split restaurant meals with a friend. Commit to the changes and enjoy a healthier you!

Jun. 11, 2013 See more In-depth