||BACKGROUND: Lowered physical activity levels may partially explain changes in metabolic risk factors in women after menopause. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the association between physical activity and metabolic risk factors at baseline and after 11 years, as well as the change in that association over time in women who were premenopausal and >/= 40 years at baseline. METHODS: Subjects in a Norwegian population-based health survey answered questionnaires and had body and serum measurements during 1995-1997 (HUNT 2) and in a follow-up study during 2006-2008 (HUNT 3). Repeated-measures analyses were used to estimate the association between physical activity and metabolic factors, adjusting for age, smoking status, education, alcohol intake, and parity. Adjustment for hormonal treatment and medication was made, as appropriate. RESULTS: In women remaining premenopausal, a higher physical activity score in HUNT 3 was associated with lower weight (p < 0.01) and waist-hip ratio (p < 0.01) and higher high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in HUNT 3 (p < 0.01). In women that were postmenopausal by the time of follow-up, a higher physical activity score in HUNT 3 was associated with lower weight (p < 0.01), waist-hip ratio (p < 0.01), triglycerides (p < 0.01), and higher total cholesterol (p < 0.05), HDL cholesterol (p < 0.01), and diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.05) in HUNT 3. The association of total physical activity score with weight and waist-hip ratio was stronger in HUNT 3 than in HUNT 2 (p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Increased physical activity may reduce the risk of adverse outcomes and use of pharmacological management in women of menopausal age.