natural changes associated with menopause can be accompanied
by added risk for osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes.
Fortunately, evidence also suggests that consistent exercise
may help to reduce the risk of developing these debilitating,
chronic conditions. (See "Maintain Strong Bones with
Exercise" in the Sept. 1999 issue of To Your Health,
and "Keep Your Heart Healthy with Resistance Training"
in the Aug. 1999 issue.)
A study in the American Journal of Public Health
suggests that exercise may also help prevent diabetes in postmenopausal
women. Nearly 100,000 women (aged 55-69 years of age) completed
a diet and lifestyle questionnaire in January 1986. Subsequent
questionnaires mailed, completed and returned over the next
12 years documented new diagnoses of diabetes.
For the 41,836 women who completed all questionnaires, greater
leisure-time physical activity was associated with a reduced
risk of type II (adult) diabetes. This association was stronger
with increasing levels of activity, such that the most active
women had approximately half the risk as the least active
women in the study. These results were maintained even after
the authors considered other potential factors such as smoking,
alcohol intake, hormone replacement therapy, and family history
of the disease.
Folsom AR, Kushi LH, Hong CP. Physical activity and incident
diabetes mellitus in postmenopausal women. American Journal
of Public Health, Jan. 2000: Vol. 90, No. 1, pp134-38.