For most women, weight becomes much harder to shift when they reach their 40s.
But new research warns this hormonal change is more dangerous for some - and it depends on where they pack on the pounds.
For black women, those who tend to gain weight around their midsection have a higher risk of fat build-up in their hearts.
White women, however, have a higher risk of of fatty hearts regardless of where they gain weight: any extra pound is a risk, according to the new research from the University of Pittsburgh.
The results, published in Wednesday's edition of the journal Menopause, echo similar findings about men three years ago, which showed abdominal weight is dangerous for black men, while a high BMI in general is risky for white men.
A study found certain types of weight gain cause more fat build-up on the heart. For black women, tummy fat is riskiest, while a high BMI is bad for white women in general (file image)
Senior author Dr Samar El Khoudary explained her team was driven to do the study to help clinicians spot heart risk factors more swiftly, without necessarily needing an expensive heart scan.
'This study, coupled with our previous study in men, gives doctors another tool to evaluate their patients and get a better sense of their heart disease risk,' Dr El Khoudary, an associate professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health, said.
'It also may lead to suggestions for lifestyle modifications to help patients lessen that risk.'
The team evaluated clinical data, such as CT scans and blood pressure, on 524 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN).