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Habitual dietary intake, eating pattern and physical activity of women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Abstract

Background/Objective:

Diet and lifestyle modifications may be of benefit in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but there is a paucity of data on these behaviours in women with PCOS. This study aims to address this through a comprehensive investigation of the habitual diet and activity patterns of UK women with PCOS and their alignment with dietary recommendations for health.

Subjects/Methods:

A 7-day-estimated food and activity diary and questionnaire was completed by 210 women with PCOS for calculation of activity levels, energy and nutrient intakes and dietary glycaemic index (GI).

Results:

Mean (s.d.) body mass index (BMI) was 27.4 (7.3) kg/m2 (n=183), with 53% of women with PCOS having a BMI>25 kg/m2. Of the overweight women, approximately half were not achieving sufficient physical activity to promote weight loss. More frequent eating episodes and a lower BMI were weakly associated (r=−0.158, P=0.034). Mean percentage energy from fat was 38 (7)% (12% energy from saturated fat), with 68% of women with PCOS consuming > 35% energy from fat. Mean dietary GI was higher in obese women with PCOS, compared with healthy weight women with PCOS (55.7 (3.4) and 53.8 (4.0), respectively; P=0.043).

Conclusion:

Many women with PCOS are not achieving dietary intakes and levels of physical activity that optimise symptom management and disease prevention. Advice should focus on fat quality and quantity and carbohydrate modification. There is a need for further robust research into the role of dietary GI in the PCOS population.

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Acknowledgements

Funding from Roehampton University.

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Correspondence to Y M Jeanes.

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Barr, S., Hart, K., Reeves, S. et al. Habitual dietary intake, eating pattern and physical activity of women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Eur J Clin Nutr 65, 1126–1132 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2011.81

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2011.81

Keywords

  • diet
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • feeding behaviour
  • motor activity

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