• Women's Health Research
Short Article

A Comprehensive Investigation of the Association between Menopause Symptoms and Problematic Eating Behavior in Peri- and Post-Menopause Cisgender Women

Women's Health Research [2023; 4(1):31-44]
Received: 08 September 2023, Accepted: 05 October 2023, Published: 11 October 2023

Midlife individuals assigned female at birth are at risk for problematic eating behavior, associated with negative health outcomes. Little is known about how menopausal symptoms may increase risk in this population. The current study aimed to understand how a comprehensive range of menopause symptoms were globally associated with problematic eating behaviors. 281 cisgender women (176 post-menopause, 105 perimenopause) from the United States aged 40 to 64 were recruited utilizing Prolific, an online survey platform. Participants answered questionnaires about menopause symptoms and problematic eating. Participants were selected using demographic and health information provided in a screener survey. Participants also completed the Eating Disorder Questionnaire (EDE-Q), Women’s Health Questionnaire (WHQ), Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8), Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Using Structural Equation Modeling, menopause symptoms explained 16.7% of the variance in problematic eating. Higher frequency and severity of anxiety, depression, sleep concerns, cognitive complaints, pain, and vasomotor symptoms was associated with greater frequency and severity of problematic eating behaviors, 𝛽 = .40, p < .001. No significant differences between peri- and postmenopausal women emerged. These findings support the association between menopause symptoms and problematic eating in midlife cisgender women and highlight the need for continued investigation.

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