Lifestyle Interventions for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Cross-Sectional Survey to Assess Women's Treatment and Outcome Preferences

JMIR Form Res. 2020 Sep 2;4(9):e17126. doi: 10.2196/17126.


Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. Diet and lifestyle programs improve health, but women's preferences for these programs have not been formally explored.

Objective: The aim of our study was to examine diet and lifestyle program preferences among women with PCOS.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional online survey of women with PCOS.

Results: At least half of the 197 respondents expressed strong interest in programs addressing energy level, anxiety, depression, weight, diabetes prevention, menstrual period regulation, and hirsutism. Similarly, at least half reported willingness to modify their sleep, stress, and physical activity; and slightly less than half reported willingness to adopt a very low-carbohydrate, paleo, or low-glycemic index diet. At least half reported interest in online or mobile programs and email-based mentoring. Younger age was associated with interest in help with acne and fertility; higher body mass index was associated with wanting help with weight loss, energy, and anxiety; and greater stress eating was associated with wanting help with depression, anxiety, and menstrual period regulation.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine attitudes and preferences of women with PCOS toward such programs. Future online and mobile diet and lifestyle programs may be able to capitalize on this information to better target this population's expressed preferences.

Keywords: health psychology; lifestyle intervention; nutrition; online and mobile; polycystic ovary syndrome.