Dietary and physical activity behaviors in women with polycystic ovary syndrome per the new international evidence-based guideline

Annie W. Lin, Maryam Kazemi, Brittany Y. Jarrett, Heidi Vanden Brink, Kathleen M. Hoeger, Steven D. Spandorfer, Marla E. Lujan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Lifestyle modifications are recommended as first-line therapy in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). However, usual dietary and physical activity (PA) behaviors of women with PCOS remain uncertain, likely owing to controversy in diagnostic criteria. Our objective was to contrast the usual dietary and PA behaviors of women with PCOS (n = 80) diagnosed by the 2018 International Evidence-based Guideline for the Assessment and Management of PCOS to that of controls (n = 44). Study outcomes were dietary intake, diet quality (Healthy Eating Index-2015), and PA (questionnaire, waist-worn accelerometers). Women with PCOS met the acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges for carbohydrate, fat, and protein, but did not meet the recommended dietary reference intakes for vitamin D (mean (95% confidence interval); 6 (5–7) µg/d), vitamin B9 (275 (252–298) µg/d), total fiber (24 (22–26) g/d), or sodium (4.0 (3.6–4.4) g/d). Women with PCOS also met the US recommendations for PA. No differences were detected in dietary intake, diet quality, or PA levels between groups (p ≥ 0.11). In conclusion, women with and without PCOS have comparable dietary and PA behaviors. A lack of unique targets for dietary or PA interventions supports the position of the new guideline to foster healthy lifestyle recommendations for the management of PCOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2711
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, as well as the National Institutes of Health (Grants No. R56-HD089962 and ULTR000457), Sponsorship Award from the PCOS Awareness Association (Grant No. 85789) and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. A.W.L., B.Y.J., and H.V.B. were supported by fellowship awards from the National Institutes of Health (Grants No. T32-DK007158 and T32-CA193193) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Grant No. 146182).The authors acknowledge the enthusiastic support of the women that participated in the present work. We credit Mr. Stephen Parry at the Cornell Statistical Consulting Unit for his contributions to the statistical analysis. We are grateful to Ms. Bailey Drewes, Ms. Erica Bender, Ms. Rene Black-Hellwitz, and other staff of Cornell’s Human Metabolic Research Unit for their research and technical support. For their contribution to data collection and management, we thank Ms. Lynda Kochman and research staff at the University of Rochester’s Clinical Research Center; Ms. Mitasha Joseph-Sohan, Ms. Rodriq Stubbs, Ms. Jessica Guillaume-Abraham, and participating fellows and sonographers from the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine; and Adaobi Onunkwo, Katie Hootman, and Emily Hegel and research staff at the Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Sciences Center. The authors have received permission from those named in the acknowledgment.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome


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