Background: Structured education programmes (SEP) have proved effective in changing illness perception and increasing physical activity (PA) in those with or at risk of diabetes. The SUCCESSRCT was designed to test such a programme in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Methods: This was a single centre, randomised controlled trial in overweight and obese women with PCOS aimed at increasing their walking activity by 2000 steps/day after 12 months following a single 7 hours SEP. Secondary outcomes were any improvement in PA pattern, glycaemic indices, cardiovascular risk factors, health related quality of life (PCOS Questionnaire = PCOQ12) and their understanding of the disease (Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire). Per-protocol analysis and T-tests were performed and reported as mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results: 162 women (66% White) were recruited; mean age 33.3 (SD 7.5; range 19 to 50) years. Six women withdrew before education and 65 out of 78 (83%) attended the SEP, 106 [52 Education arm, 54 control] attended the 6 months (6M) follow up and 100 [48 Education arm] attended the 12M visit. At 6M, step counts (MD 1097 [175, 2008] steps/day) and moderate to vigorous PA (MD 8.7 [1.3, 16.9] minutes) were significantly higher in the education than the control arm. At 12M, the groups showed no difference in PA but the education had improved participants perception of their condition, in terms of overall control as well as understanding their disease with less anxiety in regard to their weight (PCOQ12). Although all of the biometric measurements tended towards improvement with SEP in the intervention arm none reached the statistical significance for example; MD for body mass index was -0.6 kg/m2, P=0.051.
Conclusion: A single structured education empowered patients and improved their PA pattern at 6M follow-up. Although the primary outcome was not achieved but re-enforcement such as media based reminders or face to face short course follow-up educations after 6 month, might have further improved these outcomes. This type of intervention has proved cost-effective in other chronic conditions.