Predictors of the timing of natural menopause in the Multiethnic Cohort Study

Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Jun 1;167(11):1287-94. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwn046. Epub 2008 Mar 21.


The timing of natural menopause has implications for several health endpoints; in particular, it is a risk factor for breast cancer. The authors investigated factors influencing the timing of natural menopause among 95,704 women with a mean age of 59.7 years (10th-90th percentile range, 47.0-71.0) in five racial/ethnic groups in the Multiethnic Cohort Study, including non-Latina Whites, Japanese Americans, African Americans, Native Hawai'ians, and Latinas. The authors investigated whether race/ethnicity and several lifestyle and reproductive characteristics were associated with the timing of natural menopause. Race/ethnicity was a significant independent predictor of the timing of natural menopause. Other factors, including smoking, age at menarche, parity, and body mass index, did not significantly alter the race/ethnicity-specific hazard ratios. Relative to non-Latina Whites, natural menopause occurred earlier among Latinas (US-born Latinas: hazard ratio (HR) = 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07, 1.14; non-US-born Latinas: HR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.21, 1.30) and later among Japanese Americans (HR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.90, 0.95). These results support the hypothesis that the timing of natural menopause is driven by a combination of genetic, reproductive, and lifestyle factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause / ethnology*
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Racial Groups
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / ethnology