Dietary licorice root supplementation reduces diet-induced weight gain, lipid deposition, and hepatic steatosis in ovariectomized mice without stimulating reproductive tissues and mammary gland.
BACKGROUND Identifying reproductive risk factors in women offers a life course approach to obesity and cardiovascular disease prevention. The association of female reproductive factors with measures of regional body fat distribution has not been comprehensively studied. METHODS We examined the association of female reproductive factors (age at menarche, parity, age at natural menopause, menopausal status) in association with body composition data from women who participated in the Offspring and the Third Generation Framingham Heart Study cohorts. Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and sc adipose tissue (SAT) were measured volumetrically by multidetector computerized tomography. We modeled the relationship between each fat depot and female reproductive factors after adjusting for various factors such as age, smoking status, alcohol intake, physical activity index, hormone replacement therapy, and menopausal status. RESULTS Earlier age at menarche was associated with increased body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), VAT, and SAT (P < 0.0001). This association of earlier menarche with adiposity measures was attenuated after adjusting for BMI (all P > 0.70). We observed no association between parity and all parameters of adiposity measurements (all P > 0.24). Similarly, age at natural menopause was not associated with measures of body composition. Despite higher mean BMI among the post- (BMI 27.3 kg/m(2)) compared with the premenopausal women (BMI 25.9 kg/m(2)) in an age-matched analysis, mean VAT was not different between the two groups (P = 0.30). CONCLUSIONS Earlier menarche is associated with overall obesity but not with VAT or SAT after accounting for measures of generalized adiposity. Parity and menopausal age were not associated with adiposity measures. Although postmenopausal women had increased BMI, VAT, and SAT, the association was predominantly due to age.