The aim of this study was to determine whether a dietary intervention designed to reduce fat intake and increase intake of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, and weight loss, reduces vasomotor symptoms (VMS; ie, hot flashes or night sweats) in postmenopausal women.
We included 17,473 postmenopausal US women, ages 50 to 79 years, at baseline who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification trial and were not taking menopausal hormone therapy. Logistic regression was used to evaluate associations.
In multivariate-adjusted analyses, with simultaneous adjustment for the intervention and weight change, assignment to the dietary intervention versus the control arm was significantly (odds ratio [OR], 1.14; 95% CI, 1.01-1.28) related to a higher likelihood of symptom elimination among women with VMS at baseline. In addition, women with symptoms at baseline who lost 10 lb or more (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.05-1.46) or lost 10% or more of their baseline body weight (OR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.21-2.02) between baseline and year 1 were significantly more likely to eliminate VMS compared with those who maintained weight. Upon examining the joint effect of the dietary modification and weight loss, compared with women in the control arm who maintained weight, women who lost substantial weight (≥10%) as a part of the intervention (OR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.39-2.57) but not as part of the control arm (OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 0.92-2.13) were significantly more likely to end VMS, although these two groups did not differ significantly from each other. Large weight loss (>22 lb), but not dietary changes, was related to the elimination of moderate/severe VMS.
Weight loss as part of a healthy dietary modification may help eliminate VMS among postmenopausal women.