Researchers have revealed that postmenopausal women who take hormone therapy may get added benefit if they stay physically active.
The team from University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil showed that hormone therapy along combined with some exercise can reduce belly fat, body fat percentage after menopause among older women.
Study author Dr Poli Mara Spritzer, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and chief of the Gynecological Endocrinology Unit at the university's Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre said that after menopause, a woman's percentage of body fat tends to increase and redistribute to the abdomen.
And excess belly fat is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
During the research, Spritzer and her colleagues studied 34 healthy women who had an average age of 51 years, had experienced menopause for less than 3 years and sought HRT to relieve hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness.
They also measured the steps they took, including walking, working, and doing house chores and leisure activities.
The results showed that 24 of the women were physically active-defined as taking 6,000 steps or more per day-and 10 were inactive (less than 6,000 steps a day).
For active women, the higher the number of steps they took, the lower was their waist measurement and the better their level of "good" (high-density-lipoprotein, or HDL) cholesterol, the authors reported.
"Data from our study suggest that active women could benefit from hormone therapy beyond the relief of menopausal symptoms-by preserving a good body fat percentage and distribution," Spritzer said.
"Further studies with a larger number of subjects are needed in order to answer whether a specific physical activity is better than others," she added.
The study was presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.