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Fit women hit menopause earlier: Study

world Updated: Oct 14, 2011 00:44 IST
Reuters
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Women who spend a lot of time exercising or eat a heart-healthy diet appear to reach menopause earlier, according to a Japanese study - findings that researchers say could be important for cancer prevention.

Researchers led by Chisato Nagata at Gifu University tracked more than 3,100 premenopausal women over 10 years. Those who exercised the most - about eight to 10 hours a week - were 17% more likely to start menopause during the study than their sedentary peers.

Similarly, women who at the most polyunsaturated fats, found in many fish and vegetable oils, were 15 percent more likely to reach menopause than those who got the least.

During menopause, a woman's ovaries stop producing eggs and she can no longer get pregnant. It usually begins between ages 41 and 55.

For the study, Nagata and colleagues gave food and activity questionnaires to women aged 35 to 56 at baseline. Over the neat decade, nearly 1,800 of them went through menopause.

Although it was unclear how old they were when that happened, the findings - published in the journal Menopause - suggested that very active women and those getting lots of polyunsaturated fats have a higher chance of reaching menopause early.

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