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expert reaction to study investigating a high-fat diet in early life and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in rats

Eating a high fat diet during childhood may increase the risk of developing polycystic ovary syndrome later in life, report researchers publishing in Reproduction.


Prof. Margaret Rees, Reader Emeritus in Reproductive Medicine, University of Oxford, said:

“I am concerned about extrapolating findings from rats, which do not have menstrual cycles and therefore PCOS, to women. The study states that the findings are in rats but there is no limitations section about the implied extrapolation to humans.

“I would be also cautious about recommending the limiting of fat intake in children based on this research, as this could have adverse health consequences such as lowering calcium intake (from reduced milk consumption) which could increase the risk of osteoporosis in later life.”


* ‘High-fat diet exposure from pre-pubertal age induces PCOS in rats’ by Patel et al. will be published in Reproduction at 00:01 UK time on Friday 1 December. 


Declared interests

Prof. Margaret Rees: No conflicts of interest.

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