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To celebrate World Menopause Day, October 18th 2012, IMS launched a new campaign to create awareness of understanding weight gain at menopause and the implications it can have on the future health of women in the post-menopausal period.

For women aged 55–65 years, weight gain is one of their major health concerns and many are not aware of the health implications of excessive weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, which is associated with a heightened risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and also impacts adversely on health-related quality of life and sexual function.

Tobie de Villiers, President of IMS, commented;

As a result of the review of the evidence, the IMS concludes that the hormonal changes that occur as women go through menopause substantially contribute to increased central abdominal obesity which leads to increased physical and psychological ill health. There is strong evidence that estrogen therapy may partly prevent this menopause-related change in body fat distribution and the associated metabolic effects. However, further studies are required to identify the women most likely to gain metabolic benefit from menopausal hormone therapy in order to develop evidence-based clinical recommendations.

An educational toolkit of materials have been developed to support local country initiatives throughout the month of October to raise awareness of this potential health issue and many have been translated into key languages  to ensure the campaign has a truly international perspective.

A review ‘Understanding weight gain at menopause’

The International Menopause Society undertook a systematic review to summarise the literature regarding the impact of the menopause transition on body weight and body composition. The review was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Climacteric, in October 2012.
Translations of the review are available free of charge to download in English and 6 other languages – see links below.

white paper

The IMS grants permission to individuals only to reproduce the copies of the review for their own personal use but requests that organisations contact Ms Lee Tomkins, IMS Executive Director for advice on how to order reprints.

Slide Kit

slide kit

A short accompanying slide kit, ‘Understanding weight gain at menopause’ for physician education has also been produced and is available in the following languages:

Awareness raising poster – ’Stay fit and reduce your risk of excess weight after the menopause

This A4 poster is designed to raise awareness of excessive weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, and that excess weight can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnoea, cancer, osteoarthritis and mental health problems.


The poster can be used in a physician’s waiting room or reception, in libraries, or during health awareness meetings for women. The poster can be used throughout the year to encourage women to seek help and advice from their health care professional. It is available in the following languages

Patient information leaflet – ‘Stay fit and reduce your risk of excess weight after the menopause

This is a comprehensive booklet which reviews how a woman’s risk for obesity increases with age. It highlights that at menopause, women experience a change in their bodies as fat shifts itself to the abdominal area rather than the lower body where it commonly accumulates in younger women. Excessive abdominal fat, or belly fat, is linked closely with obesity and other conditions, such as heart disease. The leaflet outlines the positive steps women can take to prevent excessive weight gain, and improve their lifestyle and quality of life.


Health care providers and women can read and download the leaflet – see links below:

Source of funding

The translations of the review and costs for the provision of these educational materials were supported by IMS funds.  The industry has had no influence on the choice of contributors, the content and the writing of the review, or any other campaign initiatives.

World Menopause Month

The International Menopause Society, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, has designated October 18 as World Menopause Day. In observation of the Day, the IMS and the member national societies of CAMS, the Council of Affiliated Menopause Societies, distribute materials and organize activities to inform women about menopause, its management and the impact of estrogen loss. Since it is not always possible for local societies to arrange activities for this specific day, the IMS has now designated October as World Menopause Month. Local societies can also collaborate with other organizations working in the field of adult women’s health, such as societies for osteoporosis and breast cancer, to organize joint events. World Menopause Month can also be a call to implement policies that support research and treatment in the area of menopausal health.

As the world’s population ages, there will be increasing numbers of women entering menopause and living beyond post menopause. The potential symptoms of menopause may have a negative impact on the quality of daily life. Moreover, the consequences of menopause can lead to a host of age-related diseases including heart disease and osteoporosis. Nations around the world should continue to educate women about menopause and the benefits of preventive health care.

The IMS hopes that national societies will take the opportunity of World Menopause Month to highlight the increasing importance of menopausal health issues, by contacting the women of their country to encourage them to talk to their doctors about menopause and its long-term effects.

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