Background: Eating behaviors like emotional eating, external eating and restrained eating play an important role in weight gain and weight loss in the general population. Improvements in eating behavior are important for long-term weight. This has not yet been studied in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The aim of this study is to examine if a three-component lifestyle intervention (LI) is effective for improving disordered eating behavior in women with PCOS. Methods: Women diagnosed with PCOS (N = 183), with a body mass index (BMI) > 25 kg/m2 and trying to achieve a pregnancy were either assigned to 1 year of 20 group sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) combined with nutritional advice and exercise with or without additional feedback through Short Message Service (SMS) or Care As Usual (CAU), which includes the advice to lose weight using publicly available services. Results: The Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDEQ) scores worsened in CAU (47.5%) and improved in the LI (4.2%) at 12 months. The difference between the LI and CAU was significant (P = 0.007) and resulted in a medium to large effect size (Cohen’s d: − 0.72). No significant differences were observed in EDEQ scores between LI with SMS compared to LI without SMS (Cohen’s d: 0.28; P = 0.399). Also, weight loss did not mediate the changes in eating behavior. An overall completion rate of 67/183 (36.6%) was observed. Conclusions: A three-component CBT lifestyle program resulted in significant improvements in disordered eating behavior compared to CAU. Changes in disordered eating behavior are important for long-term weight loss and mental health. Trial registration: NTR, NTR2450. Registered 2 August 2010, https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/2344.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was supported by an institutional grant for a PhD position.
GJ, ADL, RT, AB, and JB have nothing to declare. JL has received unrestricted research grants from Ansh Labs, Ferring and Roche Diagnostics. He received consultancy fees from the following companies: Ansh Labs, Ferring, Roche Diagnostics, and Titus Healthcare.
© 2022, The Author(s).