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Keywords:

  • Group counselling;
  • high-intensity exercise;
  • metabolic syndrome;
  • physical activity;
  • polycystic ovary syndrome weight loss

Abstract

Background

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often associated with an increased waist circumference and with lower cardio-respiratory fitness as a consequence of obesity, which may be improved by physical activity.

Objective

To investigate the effect of high-intensity aerobic training combined with group counselling sessions on anthropometry and cardio-respiratory fitness in women with PCOS.

Design

Seventeen sedentary, overweight women with PCOS were randomized in a cross-over design to 16 weeks of intervention: eight weeks high-intensity aerobic exercise was followed by eight weeks of group counselling (n = 8) or vice versa (n = 9). Fourteen of the women completed the tests.

Main outcome measures

Waist circumference, body mass index and maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) were measured at baseline, cross-over and post-intervention.

Results

There was a decrease in waist circumference (119.9 vs. 106.5 cm) and body mass index (34.9 vs. 34.4 kg/m2) and an increase in VO2max (2554.9 vs. 2807.9 mL/min) during the intervention period (t = 16 weeks, n = 14), all < 0.05. Weight loss tended to be highest in the group which started with group counselling (2.9 vs. 0.6 kg, t = 16 weeks, n = 14, = 0.055).

Conclusion

Exercise in groups followed by counselling or vice versa had beneficial effects on waist circumference, weight, and VO2max in women with PCOS. Future studies should examine possible beneficial effects of combined group counselling and exercise on weight loss and adherence to exercise protocols among women with PCOS.