Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), as one of the significant endocrine disorders, is common among women worldwide. Food insecurity (FI) and unhealthy dietary patterns can negatively affect reproductive health. The effects of the lifestyle modifications, especially dietary components, on PCOS are contradictory. The aim was the assessment of association between PCOS with food security status and dietary patterns among overweight or obese women.
This case-control study was performed on 240 overweight and obese women with and without PCOS (ratio 1:1) referred to the infertility clinic of Arash Hospital, Tehran, Iran. The general and socioeconomic characteristics, anthropometrics (weight, height, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, hip circumference), physical activity, food security status, and dietary intakes (or patterns) were assessed using valid questionnaires, scales, stadiometer, and tape meter. The significant p-value was < 0.05.
The prevalence of FI was 60% in women with PCOS and 30% in healthy women. PCOS risk was positively related to FI, quasi-western dietary patterns, low economic levels, waist circumference, and menstrual age and negatively with physical activity and healthy dietary patterns, even after controlling the potential confounders (P < 0.05). PCOS women had a higher intake of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, oleic acid, fluorine, sucrose, and caffeine and a lower intake of vitamins A, B5, B6, B12, C, and D, potassium, proteins, carbohydrates, cholesterols, docosahexaenoic acid, potassium, carotenes, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, tetra- and dihydrofolate, biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, fiber (total, insoluble, and crude), glucose, galactose, fructose, and lactose compared to the healthy women (P < 0.05).
FI, quasi-western dietary patterns, low economic levels, and waist circumference were significantly associated with the higher risk of PCOS. The lifestyle changes, especially dietary patterns, may be an essential strategy for reducing PCOS. Further studies are warranted to confirm these findings and to identify the underlying mechanisms.