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Abstract

Objectives:

To assess how different variables experienced across the life course, but particularly during early life, might affect age at menopause among 174 Bangladeshi migrants to London by comparing them to 157 nonmigrant sedentees and 154 women of European descent in London.

Methods:

Participants were aged 35–59 years, with no exogenous hormone use in the past three months, not pregnant or lactating, with no history of hysterectomy or oophorectomy. Face-to-face interviews and anthropometric measures were carried out. In addition to mean recalled age at natural menopause, median age was computed by probit analysis. Ages at menopause were examined by bivariate and Cox regression analyses in relation to demographic, reproductive, and lifestyle variables, and in relation to potential exposure to cyclones in early childhood.

Results:

Ages at menopause were significantly earlier among Bangladeshi sedentees and immigrants compared to Londoners of European origin. Ages at menopause were earlier among sedentees compared to immigrants. Urban birthplace, more infectious diseases during childhood, and lower levels of education increased the risk of an earlier menopause.

Conclusions:

Changes in environmental conditions during adulthood appeared to modify age at menopause among Bangladeshi immigrants in London compared to women living in Bangladesh; however, Bangladeshi immigrants still experienced an earlier age at menopause compared with their London neighbors of European descent. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.