Women Who Exercise Often Hit Menopause Earlier

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Fox News

Published October 12, 2011 - Reuters

Women who spend a lot of time exercising or eat a heart-healthy diet appear to reach menopause earlier, a new Japanese study shows.

While that doesn't prove work-outs and healthy foods are directly responsible, researchers say the findings could be important for cancer prevention.

For the study, researchers tracked more than 3,100 premenopausal women over 10 years. Those who exercised the most -- about eight to 10 hours a week -- were 17 percent more likely to start menopause during the study than their sedentary peers.

Similarly, women who ate the most polyunsaturated fats -- found in many fish and vegetable oils -- were 15 percent more likely to reach menopause than those who got the least.

During menopause, a woman's ovaries stop producing eggs and she can no longer get pregnant. According to Dr. Margery Gass, who directs the North American Menopause Society, menopause usually begins between ages 41 and 55.

In the new study, published in the journal Menopause, Dr. Chisato Nagata of Gifu University and colleagues gave food and activity questionnaires to women aged 35 to 56 at baseline.

Over the next decade, nearly 1,800 women went through menopause. Although it's unclear how old they were when that happened, the findings suggest very active women and those getting lots of polyunsaturated fats have a higher chance of reaching menopause early.


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