The effect of a hypocaloric diet with and without exercise training on body composition, cardiometabolic risk profile, and reproductive function in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Sep;93(9):3373-80. doi: 10.1210/jc.2008-0751. Epub 2008 Jun 26.


Context: In overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the benefits of the addition of exercise to an energy-restricted diet in further improving cardiometabolic risk factors and reproductive function has not been extensively studied.

Objective: The objective was to evaluate the effects of aerobic and aerobic-resistance exercise when combined with an energy-restricted high protein diet (5000-6000 kJ/d) on metabolic risk factors and reproductive function in women with PCOS.

Design and setting: A 20-wk outpatient, randomized, parallel study was conducted in a metropolitan research clinic.

Patients and intervention: Ninety-four overweight and obese women with PCOS (age 29.3 +/- 0.7 yr; body mass index 36.1 +/- 0.5 kg/m2) were randomized to diet only (DO; n = 30), diet and aerobic exercise (DA; n = 31), or diet and combined aerobic-resistance exercise (DC; n = 33).

Main outcome measures: Weight, body composition, cardiometabolic risk factors, hormonal status, menstrual cyclicity, and ovulatory function were assessed.

Results: All interventions reduced weight (DO 8.9 +/- 1.6%, DA 10.6 +/- 1.7%, and DC 8.7 +/- 1.7%; P < 0.001) with no difference between treatments (P = 0.7, time x treatment). Fat mass decreased more (3 kg) and fat-free mass decreased less (2 kg) in DA and DC compared with DO (P < or = 0.03). Reductions in blood pressure (5.6/2.7 mm Hg), triglycerides (0.4 mmol/liter), total cholesterol (0.5 mmol/liter), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (0.1 mmol/liter), glucose (0.2 mmol/liter), fasting insulin (4.3 mIU/liter), testosterone (0.4 nmol/liter), and free androgen index (2.8) (P < 0.001) and improvements in SHBG (7.0 nmol/liter) and reproductive function occurred in all groups, with no difference between treatments.

Conclusion: In overweight and obese women with PCOS, the addition of aerobic or combined aerobic-resistance exercise to an energy-restricted diet improved body composition but had no additional effect on improvements in cardiometabolic, hormonal, and reproductive outcomes relative to diet alone.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / metabolism
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome