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Keywords:

  • Asian American;
  • midlife;
  • body mass index;
  • menopause;
  • symptoms

ABSTRACT

Objective

To explore the effects of the body mass index (BMI) on menopausal symptoms among Asian American midlife women using two different classification systems: the international classification and the BMI classification for public health action among Asian populations.

Design

Secondary analysis using data from two large Internet survey studies.

Setting

Communities and groups of midlife women on the Internet.

Participants

A total of 223 Asian American midlife women who were recruited over the Internet.

Methods

The Midlife Women's Symptom Index and self-reports of height and weight were used to collect data. The data were analyzed using multiple analyses of covariance.

Results

No significant differences in the prevalence and severity scores among three subscales and total menopausal symptoms according to the international classification were found. When the BMI classification for public health action among Asian populations was used as an independent variable, significant differences were found in the severity scores of three subscales and total menopausal symptoms. Results of the post-hoc analyses showed that Asian American midlife women who were in the BMI classification for high risk had significantly more severe menopausal symptoms than those who were in the BMI classification for increased risk.

Conclusion

For Asian American women, BMI categorized using the BMI classification for Asian populations is more closely related to the severity of menopausal symptoms than BMI categorized using the international classification. Nurses need to consider the BMI classification for Asian populations when they develop interventions to prevent and alleviate menopausal symptoms among Asian American midlife women.