Background: Men and women show differences in the distribution of body fat. Women tend to store more fat subcutaneously compared to men. Fat distribution changes in postmenopausal women. Understanding the changes in anthropometry with age and menopausal status is important in the context of deriving population, age, and gender-specific cutoff levels for obesity indices.
Aims and Objectives: This study was conducted with the objectives of measuring Waist Circumference (WC), Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR), and Waist-Height Ratio (WHtR) in South-Indian women and determining the effect of age and menopause on the anthropometric parameters in non-obese and obese women.
Materials and Methods: 290 women between the age group of 30 to 70 years participated in this analytical cross-sectional study. Age and menopausal status were recorded. Anthropometric parameters such as weight, height, WC, and hip circumference were measured. Body-mass index, WHR, and WHtR were derived. The data were analyzed to compare mean values of anthropometric parameters between premenopausal and postmenopausal women using unpaired t-test. The difference in anthropometric status was also compared between those with Body mass index (BMI) in the non-obese range and those with BMI in the obese range in relation to menopausal status.
Results: A higher proportion of women were classified as having abdominal obesity based on WHtR cutoff compared to classifying using WC cutoff. Postmenopausal women showed higher mean values of all measured anthropometric parameters, but the difference was significant only for WHR. When the study subjects were analyzed based on BMI categories, a significant difference between pre and post-menopausal women was recorded in WHtR values in the non-obese BMI group, but not in the obese BMI group when analyzed by unpaired t-test.
Conclusion: Anthropometric parameters show an increasing trend as age advances. There is a difference in mean values of all parameters between pre and post-menopausal women, though statistical significance was seen only for WHR and WHtR in different sub-groups based on BMI. Further studies are needed to decide on the need for separate cutoff values for postmenopausal women.
Key words: Menopause; Waist Circumference; Waist-Hip Ratio; Waist-Height Ratio; Anthropometry; Women; Aging