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Effects of body composition and menopause characteristics on maximal oxygen uptake of postmenopausal women

Aragão, Florbela da Rocha PhD1; Abrantes, Catarina Gavião PhD2; Gabriel, Ronaldo Eugénio PhD3; Sousa, Mário Fernando MD4; Castelo-Branco, Camil MD, PhD5; Moreira, Maria Helena PhD2

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31821b00b0
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the effects of body composition and menopause characteristics on maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) variation in postmenopausal women.

Methods: The study was conducted on 208 healthy women aged 49 to 79 years. Data related to menopause were obtained through medical history. Measurements of fat mass, visceral fat area, skeletal muscle mass (SM), fat-free mass, and basal metabolic rate were assessed by octopolar bioimpedance. SM index was calculated using the formula SM index = SM/weight, and V˙O2max was assessed through a modified Bruce protocol.

Results: Cardiorespiratory fitness was negatively associated with age, percent fat mass, visceral fat area, body fat-muscular condition, and central adiposity-muscular condition. Only time elapsed since menopause revealed a statistically significant correlation with V˙O2max. Age and time of menopause aside, body fat-muscular condition was related to the V˙O2max variation, presenting an interactive effect with basal metabolic rate. Central adiposity-muscular condition also affects V˙O2max; however, the association of all interactions, age, basal metabolic rate, and time elapsed since menopause was not significant.

Conclusions: Our data suggest an impairment of cardiorespiratory fitness with increasing age and time elapsed since menopause, but especially in the presence of increased total and central adiposity or reduced SM index. Body fat-muscular condition was significantly related to the V˙O2max variation, regardless of age and time elapsed since menopause, but not of basal metabolic rate. Central adiposity-muscular condition was a significant and independent factor of the V˙O2max exercise-related variations.

From the 1Research Centre in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development (CIDESD), 2Department of Sport Sciences, Exercise and Health, Research Centre in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development (CIDESD), 3Department of Sport Sciences, Exercise and Health, Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environment and Biological Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real; 4Portuguese Menopause Society, Lisbon, Portugal; and 5Clinic Institute of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Neonatology, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer Barcelona, Spain.

Received January 16, 2011; revised and accepted March 17, 2011.

Funding/support: This research was supported by the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (Operational Program for Science and Innovation/DES/59049/2004 and SFRH/BD/63984/2009) and the Operational Program for Science and Innovation 2010, cofinanced by European regional development fund (FEDER).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.

Address correspondence to: Florbela da Rocha Aragão, Departamento de Ciências do Desporto, Exercício e Saúde, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados, Apartado 1013, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal. E-mail: faragao@utad.pt

©2011The North American Menopause Society