Weight Loss in People with Serious Mental Illness

A new study showed that a weight-loss intervention can help overweight and obese people with serious mental illnesses—such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression—lose significant weight and keep it off.

80% of People With Serious Mental Illnesses Are Overweight

More than 80% of people with serious mental illnesses are overweight or obese—a major factor that helps lead to a death rate 3 times that of the overall population. Factors that contribute to obesity include unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity. Medications to help control mental illness symptoms can increase appetite and encourage weight gain. Adding to these challenges, people with serious mental illnesses may have impairments in memory and mental processes that make it more difficult for them to learn and adopt new weight loss behaviors such as counting calories.

To address the problem, researchers led by Dr. Gail L. Daumit at Johns Hopkins University tested the effectiveness of an 18-month behavioral weight-loss program tailored for adults with serious mental illnesses. The study was funded by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). New England Journal of Medicine.

Photo of a person chopping vegetables.

The researchers studied 291overweight or obese adults who attended community outpatient psychiatric rehabilitation programs. The participants' average age was 45 years. Half were men, and 38% were black. All were taking an average of 3 psychotropic medications, many known to cause weight gain. About 60% of the participants had schizophrenia or a schizoaffective disorder, 22% had bipolar disorder and 12% had major depression.


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

The researchers chose these community programs as the setting because the facilities usually have commercial kitchens and spaces that can be used for group exercise. The programs typically provide breakfast and lunch, and participants often attend several times a week. Staff was advised on providing healthier options to all participants, such as serving water with lemon or unsweetened iced tea instead of lemonade.

The researchers randomly assigned participants to an intervention or control group. Those in the intervention group took part in weight management and group exercise sessions. To address deficits in memory and learning, information was divided into small units and skills repeated. Goals included avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food, eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, choosing smaller portions, and participating in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise daily. The control group received standard nutrition and physical activity information at the beginning of the program.

The researchers found that patients in the intervention group lost an average of 4 pounds after 6 months and 7. 5 pounds after 18 months. In comparison, those in the control group lost an average of only 0. 6 pounds after 6 months and 0. 5 pounds after 18 months.

At 18 months, 38% of the participants in the intervention group had lost 5% or more of their starting weight, compared to 23% of those in the control group. This weight loss, although modest, has been shown to have beneficial health effects, such as lowered blood pressure and prevention of type 2 diabetes.

These findings demonstrate that overweight and obese adults with serious mental illness can adopt healthy habits while in an outpatient psychiatric rehabilitation program.

We’re showing that serious mentally ill patients can make successful, sustained changes with proper interventions,” Daumit says. e researchers now hope to expand the program. Article Source: NIH Research Matters

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

English Afrikaans Arabic Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Danish Dutch Filipino Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Malay Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Spanish Swahili Swedish Thai Turkish Ukrainian Urdu Vietnamese

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 08:51

Insects are attracted to landscapes where flowering plants of the same species are grouped together and create big blocks of color, according to new research.

Thursday, 20 May 2021 08:31

It’s recommended we do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day – or 150 minutes a week – to stay healthy. But 30 minutes accounts for just 2% of the day. And many of us spend most of the rest of the...

Wednesday, 12 May 2021 08:30

In 2019, Burger King Sweden released a plant-based burger, the Rebel Whopper, and the reaction was underwhelming. So, the company challenged its customers to taste the difference.

Sunday, 02 May 2021 08:18

When you think about soil, you probably think of rolling fields of countryside. But what about urban soil? With city dwellers expected to account for 68% of the world’s population by 2050, this oft...

Thursday, 01 April 2021 16:24

  Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence that we, the audience, absorb. The whole dance has a quality of proud self-assurance and...

Tuesday, 18 May 2021 16:15

In my blog posts, free resources, and courses, I talk a lot about the things that we can do to support and develop our inborn, natural interspecies communication abilities. In this post, I...

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.