Deakin University
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Overweight, obesity and central obesity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-11-01, 00:00 authored by Siew Lim, M J Davies, R J Norman, L J Moran
BACKGROUND Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is closely associated with obesity but the prevalence of obesity varies between published studies. The objective of this research was to describe the prevalence of overweight, obesity and central obesity in women with and without PCOS and to assess the confounding effect of ethnicity, geographic regions and the diagnostic criteria of PCOS on the prevalence. METHODS MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) and PSYCINFO were searched for studies reporting the prevalence of overweight, obesity or central obesity in women with and without PCOS. Data were presented as prevalence (%) and risk ratio (RR) [95% confidence interval (CI)]. Random-effect models were used to calculate pooled RR. RESULTS This systematic review included 106 studies while the meta-analysis included 35 studies (15129 women). Women with PCOS had increased prevalence of overweight [RR (95% CI): 1.95 (1.52, 2.50)], obesity [2.77 (1.88, 4.10)] and central obesity [1.73 (1.31, 2.30)] compared with women without PCOS. The Caucasian women with PCOS had a greater increase in obesity prevalence than the Asian women with PCOS compared with women without PCOS [10.79 (5.36, 21.70) versus 2.31 (1.33, 4.00), P < 0.001 between subgroups). CONCLUSIONS Women with PCOS had a greater risk of overweight, obesity and central obesity. Although our findings support a positive association between obesity and PCOS, our conclusions are limited by the significant heterogeneity between studies and further studies are now required to determine the source of this heterogeneity. Clinical management of PCOS should include the prevention and management of overweight and obesity.



Human reproduction update






618 - 637


Oxford University Press


Oxford, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, The Author