Effects of exercise and dietary habits on the occurrence of polycystic ovary syndrome over 5 years of follow-up

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2018 Sep;142(3):329-337. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12563. Epub 2018 Jun 27.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of recent and previous exercise and dietary habits on the occurrence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Methods: The present study had a population-based case-control phase and a nested case-control phase. Women aged 12-44 years with and without PCOS were surveyed using the Semiquantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire to evaluate the correlation of PCOS with recent (last 7 days) or previous (5 years ago) exercise and dietary habits.

Results: No difference in recent physical activity was found between the PCOS and control groups (case-control phase, n=1854). However, patients with PCOS had previously (5 years ago; nested case-control phase, n=1149) spent less time physical active in relation to transportation (P=0.003), housekeeping (P=0.023), walking (P<0.001), and activities of moderate intensity (P=0.008), and had spent more time sitting (P<0.001). Dietary nutrients and energy intake did not differ between the two groups (P>0.05 for all comparisons).

Conclusions: Previous exercise habits were associated with subsequent PCOS whereas a recently acquired exercise routine was not. Women should avoid long-term sedentary lifestyle habits and focus on adding to the duration of, or enhancing the intensity of, physical activity.

Keywords: Dietary habits; Nested case-control study; Physical activity; Polycystic ovary syndrome; Population-based case-control study; Sedentary habits.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake*
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult