Energy Expenditure from Physical Activity and the Metabolic Risk Profile at Menopause


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Clinical Sciences: Clinically Relevant

Purpose: A sedentary lifestyle and visceral obesity are important risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and the development of cardiovascular disease, two conditions that are prevalent in women after menopause. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between daily energy expenditure from moderate to intense physical activity and several metabolic parameters in postmenopausal women not receiving hormone therapy (HT) and to verify whether these associations are independent of the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (AT).

Methods: Daily energy expenditure and frequency of participation in physical activity (kcal·kg−1·15 min−1) were measured from a 3-d activity diary in 118 postmenopausal women (56 ± 4 yr; 29 ± 6 kg·m−2). Daily activities for each 15-min period during 24 h were categorized according to their intensity on a 1–9 scale. Category 1 indicated very low energy expenditure such as sleeping, and category 9 indicated very high energy expenditure such as running. Energy expenditure corresponding to categories 6–9 (EE6–9) was examined in relation to the metabolic risk profile.

Results: EE6–9 was negatively and significantly associated with body mass index (BMI) (r = −0.22, P < 0.05) and visceral AT accumulation (r = −0.18, P < 0.05). Partial correlation analyses adjusted for visceral AT showed that EE6–9 was significantly associated with systolic blood pressure (r = −0.22, P < 0.05), plasma concentrations of HDL-cholesterol (chol) (r = 0.23, P < 0.05), HDL2-chol (r = 0.22, P < 0.05), fasting glucose (r = −0.24, P < 0.05), and fasting C-peptide (r = −0.24, P = <0.05). EE6–9 was also associated with insulin sensitivity as measured by the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (r = 0.27, P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Higher engagement in physical activity (EE6–9) is associated with a lower BMI and visceral AT accumulation and with a healthier metabolic profile in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, the associations between EE6–9 and some metabolic parameters appear to be independent of visceral AT accumulation.

Author Information

1Department of Food Science and Nutrition, 2Lipid Research Center, CHUL, CHUQ, and 3Diabetes Research Unit, CHUL, CHUQ, Laval University, Québec, Québec, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Simone Lemieux, Ph.D., Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440 Hochelaga Boulevard, Québec, Québec, Canada G1K 7P4; E-mail:

Submitted for publication June 2004.

Accepted for publication October 2004.

The authors express their gratitude to the subjects for their excellent collaboration and to the staff of the Lipid Research Center, the Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory, and the Diabetes Research Unit for their contribution to this study. We especially want to thank L. Corneau, R. Couture, F. Therrien, M. Tremblay, and N. Gilbert for their help in the collection and analysis of the data and Dr. Benoît Lamarche for editorial assistance. This study was supported by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP-37957). J. Bergeron is a Clinical Research Scholar from the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec and S. Lemieux is a Research Scholar from the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec. Genevieve Major is the recipient of a training fellowship from Diabète Québec and from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

©2005The American College of Sports Medicine