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Weight Loss Resulting from a Low-Fat Diet May Help Eliminate Hot Flashes and Night Sweats in Menopausal Women

OAKLAND, Calif. — Weight loss that occurs in conjunction with a low-fat, high fruit and vegetable diet may help to reduce or eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause, according to a Kaiser Permanente Division of Research study that appears in the current issue of Menopause.

This Women’s Health Initiative study of 17,473 women found that women on a diet low in fat and high in whole grains, fruit and vegetables, who had menopausal symptoms, who were not taking hormone replacement therapy, and who lost weight (10 or more pounds or 10 or more percent of their baseline body weight), were more likely to reduce or eliminate hot flashes and night sweats after one year, compared to those in a control group who maintained their weight.

Many women experience hot flashes at some point before or after menopause, when their estrogen levels are declining, explain the researchers.

The Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification trial enrolled a diverse group of 48,835 post-menopausal women between 1993 and 1998 at 40 United States clinical centers to evaluate the effects of a low-fat dietary pattern on heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and fracture in post-menopausal women. The dietary intervention was aimed at reducing fat intake and increasing fruit, vegetable and whole grain intake. Although weight loss was not a goal, participants assigned to the intervention group lost on average 4.5 pounds between baseline and year one, compared to the control group.

Additional authors on the study include: Marcia L. Stefanick, PhD, with the Stanford Prevention Research Center; Garnet Anderson, PhD, with the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle; Robert Brzyski, MD, PhD, with the University of Texas; Karen C. Johnson, MD, MPG, with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Erin LeBlanc, MD, MPH, with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; Cathy Lee, MD, with the University of California, Los Angeles; Andrea Z. La Croix, PhD, with the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center; Hannah Lui Park, PhD, with the University of California, Irvine Department of Epidemiology; Stacy T. Sims, PhD, with the Stanford Prevention Research Center; Mara Vitolins, DrPH, with Wake Forest University in North Carolina; and Robert Wallace, MD, MS, with the University of Iowa College of Public Health. This research was funded by a grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

About the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research conducts, publishes and disseminates epidemiologic and health services research to improve the health and medical care of Kaiser Permanente members and the society at large. It seeks to understand the determinants of illness and well-being and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Currently, DOR’s 500-plus staff is working on more than 250 epidemiological and health services research projects. For more information, visit

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:

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