Our aim was to assess the effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on metabolic parameters and body composition in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was conducted using Embase, MEDLINE (via Ovid), PubMed, Sport Discus, Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar (advanced feature) up to September 2020. Two authors independently screened citations and determined the risk of bias and quality of evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). Meta-analyses were conducted using random effects model.
Seven trials (n = 423) were included in the systematic review. The studies included HIIT interventions vs. moderate exercise or control groups. Most studies were small (average 32, range 24-110 participants) and of relatively short duration (10-16 weeks). The training intensity was performed between 90% and 95% of the maximum heart rate, three times a week, for at least 10 weeks. Insulin resistance, measured using homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and body mass index (BMI) showed a significant decrease (MD -0.57; 95% CI, -0.98 to -0.16, p = 0.01), (MD -1.90, 95% CI -3.37, -0.42, p = 0.01) with moderate and high certainty of evidence, respectively.
Results support that HIIT alone is effective for reducing HOMA-IR and BMI in women with PCOS. However, evidence is limited to discern the effect of HIIT on other outcomes. Future studies with a longer duration (> 16 weeks), larger sample sizes and other outcomes are needed.