Press Release Meetings & Events

Obesity raises type 2 diabetes risk in women with PCOS

Washington, DC March 20, 2021
Women with obesity and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting. Normal-weight women with PCOS are not at increased risk, the researchers found.

Women with PCOS had a more than three-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes during their lifetime, the study found. This risk was evident only in women who met the criteria for overweight or obesity, but not in lean women.

“We strongly suggest weight management in women with obesity and PCOS in an attempt to reduce this major risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” said lead researcher Sarantis Livadas, M.D., Ph.D., of Athens Medical Center in Athens, Greece.

PCOS is a common disorder characterized by irregular menstrual periods, disruption of normal metabolism and excessive hair growth. PCOS affects up to 10% of all women of reproductive age. The disorder can lead to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are often life-long conditions. Between 50%-80% of women with PCOS have obesity, and obesity is known to be a risk factor for diabetes.

The link between PCOS and diabetes has been based on a small number of studies, mostly evaluating women with the condition and obesity.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed 23 previous studies in order to assess the impact of obesity in subsequent type 2 diabetes development in women with PCOS. The studies included a total of 60,336 women with PCOS and 259,444 without the disease. A total of 8,847 women in the studies had type 2 diabetes.

“We conclude that only women with PCOS and obesity have an increased risk for type 2 diabetes development, in contrast to the current notion that all women with PCOS have a significant risk for developing type 2 diabetes,” said Livadas. “This finding underscores the impact of early detection of this PCOS population and prompt lifestyle modification to avert the development of type 2 diabetes.” 

About Endocrine Society

Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.

The Society has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.

Media Contacts

Colleen Williams Manager, Public Relations Phone: (202)-971-3611 [email protected]

Jenni Glenn Gingery Associate Director, Communications and Media Relations Phone: (202)-971-3655 [email protected]

All News & Advocacy

Hill Event
Patient Resources

The Hormone Health Network

Hormone Health Network
From bench to bedside and all the stages in between, the Hormone Health Network is committed to supporting patient and public education.

From bench to bedside and all the stages in between, the Hormone Health Network is committed to supporting patient and public education.

Podcast

Endocrine News Podcast

EndocrineNewsPodcast
The Endocrine News podcast brings you the latest research and clinical advances from experts in the field, whether you are in your car, office, or out for a run.

The Endocrine News podcast brings you the latest research and clinical advances from experts in the field, whether you are in your car, office, or out for a run.

Bench to Bedside

Endocrine Society Journals

Research
Our top-ranked peer-reviewed journals are among the first to publish major developments and discovery milestones.

Our top-ranked peer-reviewed journals are among the first to publish major developments and discovery milestones.

Back to top
Short on time?

We'll come to you...

Get updates on the latest breakthroughs, clinical practice guidelines, and career development opportunities, straight to your inbox

Then take the next step: Set up your free website account and get exclusive access to even more great tools & content!