Prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in a sample of Indigenous women in Darwin, Australia

Jacqueline Anne Boyle, Joan Cunningham, Kerin O'Dea, Terry Dunbar, Robert Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To document the prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and its associated characteristics in a sample of urban Indigenous women.

Design: A cross-sectional survey of Indigenous women, including biochemical and anthropometric assessments. PCOS was assessed using the National Institutes of Health 1990 criteria.

Setting and participants: Indigenous women, aged 15–44 years, living in a defined area in and around Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, September 2003 – March 2005.

Main outcome measures: Proportion of participants with PCOS overall and measures of obesity.

Results: Among 248 women eligible for assessment, the proportion who had PCOS was 15.3% (95% CI, 10.8%–19.8%). The proportion with PCOS was similar across age groups, but was significantly higher (P = 0.001) in women with a body mass index (BMI) of ≥ 30.0 kg/m2 (30.5%) compared with women with a BMI of 25.0–29.9 kg/m2 (8.2%) or a BMI of < 25.0 kg/m2 (7.0%).

Conclusions: A high proportion of these Indigenous women had PCOS. The significant relationship with obesity gives a strong rationale for screening for PCOS during routine care of Indigenous women who are obese and of reproductive age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-66
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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