Predictors of lifestyle intervention attrition or weight loss success in women with polycystic ovary syndrome who are overweight or obese

Lisa J. Moran, Manny Noakes, Peter Clifton, Jon Buckley, Grant Brinkworth, Rebecca Thomson, Robert J. Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background/objectives: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition in reproductive-aged women. Weight management is a first-line treatment for PCOS according to international evidence-based guidelines. However, the factors associated with attrition or success in weight loss interventions are not known for women with PCOS. The objective of this study was to identify characteristics associated with attrition and weight loss success in women with PCOS and overweight or obesity undergoing weight loss interventions. Methods: Four randomised controlled clinical weight loss trials comprising energy restricted diets and/or exercise interventions of 2–8 months duration. The interventions were conducted over 2001–2007 in outpatient clinical research centres with n = 221 premenopausal women with PCOS and overweight/obesity recruited through community advertisement. The main outcome measures were attrition and ≥5% weight loss at 2 months and study completion. Results: Weight loss was 5.7 ± 2.9 kg at 2 months and 7.4 ± 5.3 kg after study completion (p < 0.001). Attrition was 47.1% and ≥5% weight loss occurred in 62.5% and 62.7% of women at 2 months and study completion respectively. Baseline depressive symptoms (OR 1.07 95% CI 0.88, 0.96, p = 0.032) and lower appointment attendance by 2 months (OR 0.92 95% CI 0.88, 0.96, p < 0.001) were independently associated with attrition. Lower appointment attendance over the whole study was independently associated with not achieving ≥5% weight loss at study completion (OR 0.95 95% CI 0.92, 0.99, p = 0.020). Conclusions: Despite high attrition, successful weight loss was achieved by 63% of women with PCOS in a clinical research setting. Higher baseline depressive symptoms were associated with greater attrition and higher appointment attendance was associated with lower attrition and greater weight loss success. These finding have implications for development of successful weight management programs in PCOS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number492
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2019


  • Attrition
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Lifestyle
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Weight loss

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