The Relationship between Obesity, Visceral Adiposity and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Adult women of Childbearing Age

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most prevalent disorders and a common cause of female infertility among women of reproductive age (CDC, 2020). The clinical indications for this disorder are multi-faced, including hyperandrogenism, anovulation, obesity, insulin resistance, infertility, and an increased risk of metabolic diseases (Barthelmess & Naz, 2014). Obesity measured in body mass index (BMI) and visceral adiposity measured in waist-to-hip ratio (W:H) are indicators for PCOS patients. This cross-sectional study aimed to understand the metabolic parameters, specifically body weight and W:H, and to find a relationship between BMI, W:H, and PCOS in women. The goal was to identify a better indicator for outlining the population at a higher risk. Secondary data were analyzed from residents of the city Thrissur in Kerala, India. Participants included 541 female patients with ages ranging from 18 to 50 years. A total of 34.6% participants were overweight, whereas 8% in total were classified as class 1 and class 2 obese. The prevalence of PCOS in the participants was nearly 33%. An independent sample t-test and a chi-square test of independence were performed to answer research questions. Both tests showed significance for BMI and PCOS patients, whereas W:H was not significant. Thus, weight gain and obesity are risk factors for polycystic ovarian syndrome. Given the vast complexity of the causative factors of PCOS, adopting a holistic approach to weight gain, along with a lifestyle change, is important for the effective management of PCOS. Focusing future studies on long-term effects of PCOS, post-menopausal women, and the mental and emotional barriers would help in the effective management of the disease. Public health officials worldwide need to design policies and educational programs that help identify and reduce the impact of PCOS in women.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Health Education