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Issue 150 Winter 2023

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Resting energy expenditure (REE) is assumed to decline with age. The menopause is also thought to be associated with reducing REE. However, variable data exist, with some reporting stable energy expenditure before the age of 60, whilst other studies report an earlier decline in adjusted REE. 

To determine whether age and menopausal status influence REE, Karppinen and colleagues included 120 women aged 17–58 years, dividing them by age. Those aged 41–58 years were further subdivided by menopausal status. REE was quantified by indirect calorimetry and body composition using dual X-ray absorptiometry scanning. 

Age was inversely associated with REE (P<0.001 across all comparisons). There was no difference in REE between those who were pre-/perimenopausal and those who were postmenopausal. Nor was there a difference between postmenopausal women who were on menopausal hormone treatment and those who were not. Additionally, no relationship was observed between basal oestradiol or follicle-stimulating hormone level and REE. 

This study did include women on hormonal contraceptives, and is limited by its cross-sectional design. However, the data demonstrate declining REE with age, although they do not support the suggestion that menopause directly reduces REE. Further longitudinal data are required to determine whether changes in sex hormones impact REE. 

Read the full article in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 108 2789–2797

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