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OBJECTIVES: To examine the associations of childhood adiposity with menopausal symptoms in women aged 45-49 years. STUDY DESIGN: National population-based cohort study of 334 girls prospectively followed from childhood (aged 11-15) through to midlife (aged 45-49). Childhood overweight and obesity were defined by international age- and sex-specific standards for body mass index (BMI), and abdominal obesity was defined as waist/height ratio≥0.5. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), vaginal dryness, total menopausal symptoms and domain-specific symptoms (somatic, psychological and urogenital) were measured during 2018-19 using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) and classified as none, mild, moderate or severe. RESULTS: The prevalence of mild, moderate and severe VMS was 24.0 %, 9.0 % and 3.9 %, and of vaginal dryness was 12.6 %, 4.8 % and 2.4 %. No significant associations of childhood overweight/obesity or abdominal obesity with VMS or vaginal dryness were found after adjustment for childhood age, follow-up length, smoking, socioeconomic status and diet quality. Childhood overweight/obesity was associated with increased risks of more severe total (RR:1.17, 95 % CI:1.02-1.36), psychological (RR:1.19, 95 % CI:1.04-1.35) and urogenital (RR:1.29, 95 % CI:1.14-1.46) symptoms measured using the MRS. Associations with childhood abdominal obesity were mostly stronger with more severe total (RR:2.19, 95 % CI:1.48-3.23), somatic (RR:1.52, 95 % CI:1.15-2.02), psychological (RR:1.21, 95 % CI:1.04-1.42) and urogenital (RR:2.11, 95 % CI:1.39-3.20) symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Childhood adiposity was not associated with increased risks of more severe VMS or vaginal dryness in women aged 45-49 years. Childhood adiposity, especially abdominal obesity, was associated with more severe total, somatic, psychological and urogenital symptoms. However, the association between these symptoms and menopause is not established.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





81 - 88


Childhood adiposity, Menopausal symptoms, Vaginal dryness, Vasomotor symptoms, Adiposity, Adolescent, Australia, Child, Cohort Studies, Female, Female Urogenital Diseases, Humans, Menopause, Middle Aged, Obesity, Abdominal, Pediatric Obesity, Prevalence, Surveys and Questionnaires