Exploration of individual components of nutritional behaviors in adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): A qualitative study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Kazerun Medical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kazerun, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

3 Professor, Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Nutrition Research Center, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.


Introduction: Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common endocrine disorder in women of childbearing age. Prevalence of this syndrome in adolescent girls has increased in recent years and unhealthy nutritional behaviors play an important role in the progression and complications of this syndrome. The present study was conducted aimed to explore individual components of nutritional behaviors in adolescent girls with this syndrome.
Methods: This qualitative study was conducted with a content analysis approach in 2016-2017. Thirty-nine participants were selected through purposeful sampling method in gynecological clinics as well as offices of gynecologists and midwives in Shiraz. Data were gathered using individual in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and field notes. Data were analyzed using conventional qualitative content analysis.
Results: In this study, 22 sub-categories and 8 main categories were obtained including: “having self-efficacy”, “impact of changes resulting from puberty and adolescence”, “prioritize academic success and promotion”, “experiences related to diet”, “awareness and attitude about the disease and related nutritional behaviors”, “have the knowledge to adopt healthy nutritional behaviors”, “emotional cravings for food”, and “amount of time available”.
Conclusion: Different individual components affect the nutritional behaviors of adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome. By identifying these components, policy makers and planners in the field of adolescent health can design various interventions in order to adopt healthy nutritional behaviors in these girls.


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