Effect of Body Mass Index and Menopausal Status on Lipid Levels in African American Women
Background: Lipid levels are negatively impacted by menopause. Total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoproteins (LDL), and triglyceride levels have been shown to increase due to menopause, increasing risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Limited research indicates this relationship may be independent of weight status. This study aims to examine lipid levels (TC, LDL-C, fasting glucose) by menopausal and weight status (Body Mass Index [BMI] [greater than] 25) in African American (AA) women to better understand this relationship. Methods: Lipid profile, BMI, and menopausal status were obtained from AA women enrolled in a NIH-funded study, Better Me Within, to evaluate a faith-based diabetes prevention program. This study included overweight and obese AA women with an absence of hysterectomy. Lipid profile (TC, LDL-C, fasting glucose) was obtained after a 12-hour fast via finger stick (Alere Cholestech LDX Analyzer). BMI was calculated with objectively collected height and weight data, and menopausal status through self-report. Results: 56 AA female participants with a mean age of 46.7 (SD=12.4) years were included. LDL, TC, and fasting glucose were all significantly higher in postmenopausal as compared to premenopausal women (all p values Conclusion: In this study of AA women, TC, LDL, and fasting glucose were higher for postmenopausal women compared to premenopausal, and in obese postmenopausal women compared to obese premenopausal women. This study indicates greater levels of BMI worsen the effect of menopausal status on lipid levels. Future research is needed to evaluate the relationship between excess weight, menopause, and lipid levels in larger samples, particularly since AA women are at higher risk for chronic conditions including diabetes and CVD.