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Menopause and physical performance-a community-based cross-sectional study

Cheng, Ming-Huei MD1,3,4; Wang, Shuu-Jiun MD2,3; Yang, Fu-Yi MD3,5; Wang, Peng-Hui MD, PhD1,3; Fuh, Jong-Ling MD2,3

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181a0e091

Objectives: The aim of this study was to test whether menopause is associated with decreased physical performance and to determine the risk factors accounting for a decline in physical performance.

Methods: We recruited 979 women (mean ±SD age, 48.4 ± 3.9 y; range, 43-57 y) from a community population in Taiwan. Menopause status (435 women [44.4%] in premenopause, 253 [25.8%] in perimenopause, and 291 [29.7%] in postmenopause) was determined by menstrual history. All women underwent three dimensions of physical performance assessment: flexibility was evaluated by stand-and-reach and sit-and-reach tests; muscular strength was determined by the grip and pinch strength tests; and balance was assessed by one-legged standing with eyes open or closed.

Results: Flexibility did not vary among women in different menopausal states. Perimenopausal or postmenopausal women had weaker grip strength than premenopausal women (27.7 ± 6.5, 25.1 ± 6.5, and 23.5 ± 6.5 kg for premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal states, respectively; P < 0.001) and shorter standing balance time (93.9 ± 33.7, 88.7 ± 34.9, and 78.4 ± 39.5 s for premenopausal, perimenopausal, postmenopausal states, respectively; P < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, the associations of decreased grip strength and poor balance with menopause status remained significant after adjustment for baseline characteristics.

Conclusions: Menopause is an independent predictor of decreased muscle strength and balance.

Menopause is an independent predictor of decrease muscle strength and balance.

From the 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tapei Veterans General Hospital; 2Neurological Institute, Tapei Veterans General Hospital; 3Department of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, 4Institute of Clinical Medicine and Tropical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Tapei; and 5Neurology Department, Taoyuan Veterans Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Received January 17, 2009; revised and accepted February 12, 2009.

Funding support: This study was supported by grants from the National Health Research Institute (NHRI-GT-EX89P923C, NHRI-GT-EX90-8923PC, and NHRI-EX91-8923PC) and the National Science Council (95-2314-B-075-045).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Jong-Ling Fuh, MD, Neurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, 201, Section 2, Shih-Pai Road, Taipei 11217, Taiwan. E-mail:

©2009The North American Menopause Society