Introduction: We aim to describe changes in exercise habits and barriers to physical activity over 5 years in menopausal women at low-intermediate risk for cardiovascular disease. Materials and Methods: Women in the Stress Echocardiography in Menopausal Women at Risk for Coronary Artery Disease trial were prospectively enrolled in a multisite study from 2004 to 2007. Inclusion criteria were as follows: peri- and postmenopausal women with symptoms and/or risk factors for cardiovascular disease resulting in referral for stress echocardiography. A questionnaire, which assessed details of medical history, physical activity, and body mass index (BMI), was administered at baseline and 5 years. Results: 216 menopausal women (62.5% hypertensive, 15.3% diabetic, 52.3% prior or current smokers) were studied. At baseline, age was 54.9 ± 4.8 years, BMI was 30.7 ± 6.4 kg/m2, and Framingham risk score was 4.05% ± 3.76%. One hundred women (46.3%) were obese, 79 (36.6%) overweight, and 37 (17.1%) had a normal BMI. Women changed their self-reported aerobic exercise patterns in similar patterns regardless of their BMI at baseline. There was low participation in strength training among all women. Mean BMI decreased by 0.12 kg/m2 in obese women and increased by 1.63 kg/m2 in normal BMI women at 5 years (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: These data suggest that women can increase their level of physical activity regardless of BMI and that overweight or obese status is not a barrier to initiating an aerobic, nonaerobic, or strength training exercise routine.
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