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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2009 Dec;22(6):551-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2009.00988.x.

Dietary management of women with polycystic ovary syndrome in the United Kingdom: the role of dietitians.

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Health Sciences Research Centre, School of Human and Life Sciences, Roehampton University, London, UK.



Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine condition associated with hyperandrogenism, infertility and metabolic dysfunction. Weight management through diet and lifestyle modifications are fundamental to its management; however, presently, there are no official dietary guidelines. The present study aimed to explore the dietary and lifestyle strategies followed by women with PCOS and the contribution of dietitians to its management.


A questionnaire was completed by 105 UK dietitians focused on the service provided and a patient questionnaire and 7-day food diary were completed by women with PCOS (n = 206 and n = 196, respectively). Food diaries were analysed for energy and macronutrient intake and the questionnaire focused on the dietary advice received.


Advice provided by dietitians focused on a reduction in energy intake (78%) and dietary glycaemic index (77%), often in combination. Of the women with PCOS who were following a diet specifically for their PCOS (57%), regimes included a low glycaemic index (34%), weight loss diets (16%) or a combination (26%). Of interest, 73% of overweight women were not following a diet to promote weight loss. Nutritional information predominately came from books, with only 15% of women having seen a dietitian. Eighty-four percent of women with PCOS who had increased physical activity (48%) self-reported an improvement in their symptoms.


Women with PCOS recognise the importance of diet, but few received dietary advice from a registered dietitian. The dietary information women with PCOS received was often from an unregulated source. A consensus statement of evidence-based dietary advice for women with PCOS is needed and would be a useful resource for dietitians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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