University of Newcastle researchers are recruiting a team of '40-something' females to participate in a study to help women prevent weight gain or 'middle-age spread'.
During the one-year study titled 'Weight control for 40-something women', researchers will examine and monitor participants taking part in two different but proven methods of weight management.
Chief researcher Lauren Williams said this program would highlight the importance for women in this age bracket to control their weight and indentify successful ways to fight off excess kilos.
"Preventing weight gain for women in their mid-to-late 40s is extremely important given the further changes waiting around the corner with menopause," Dr Williams said. "Menopause, which commonly occurs around age 50, affects the shape of the female body by changing oestrogen levels and depositing or redistributing fat around the waist. This 'apple shape' makes women more susceptible to high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes."
Dr Williams said many women aged between 45 and 50 also experienced a drop in their metabolic rate meaning they had to exercise more or eat less to keep to the weight off.
"You don't need to be overweight for the weight gain to happen - it is just as likely to happen to women who are in the healthy weight range," Dr Williams said.
To participate in the study, volunteers must be female, aged in their mid-to-late 40s and have had a period within the past three months. Participants must also have a Body Mass Index (weight in kilograms divided by height in metres, squared) between 18.5 and 30 and they will be required to attend several appointments at the University.
Anyone interested in taking part should contact Jenna Hollis.
Dr Williams and her team are members of the Hunter Medical Research Institute's (HMRI) Public Health program.
HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.