People with serious mental illnesses can lose weight, study shows
People with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression can lose weight and keep it off through a modified lifestyle intervention program, a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study reported online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Over 80 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are overweight or obese, which contributes to them dying at three times the rate of the overall population. They succumb mostly to the same things the rest of the population experiences—cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Although antipsychotic medications increase appetite and cause weight gain in these patients, it is not the only culprit. Like the general population, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet also play a part. Lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise should work for these patients, yet they are often left out of weight loss studies.
"People with serious mental illnesses are commonly excluded from studies to help them help themselves about their weight," said Gail L. Daumit, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and the study's lead author. "We're showing that serious mentally ill patients can make successful, sustained changes with proper interventions."
This study could usher in new forms of weight loss treatment for people with serious mental illness.
This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Over 80 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are overweight or obese, which contributes to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a shortened life expectancy than that of the general population. Yet they are often left out of weight loss studies. Credit: NIMH"Until now, obesity among those with serious mental illnesses has not received adequate attention," said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. "People with serious mental illnesses need more attention to their physical health. This study provides convincing evidence these individuals can make substantial lifestyle changes and therefore should suffer fewer medical complications as they age."
Other factors that preclude people with serious mental illnesses from losing weight include memory impairments or residual psychiatric symptoms that impede learning and adopting new behaviors such as counting calories. Socioeconomics are also a factor as many can't afford or can't get to physical activity programs like fitness gyms. Some patients additionally suffer from social phobia or have poor social interactions, and are simply afraid to work out in a public area.
Daumit's group attempted to solve these issues by bringing the gyms and nutritionists to places most of these patients frequent—psychiatric rehabilitation outpatient programs. Under the trial name ACHIEVE, the researchers randomized 291 participants in 10 rehab centers around Maryland to receive the usual care, consisting of nutrition and physical activity information, or six months of intensive intervention consisting of exercise classes three times a week along with individual or group weight loss classes once a week. Both groups were followed for an additional year, during which the weight loss classes of the intervention arm tapered down but the exercise classes remained constant. The intervention arm included goals such as reducing caloric intake by avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food; eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; choosing smaller portions and healthy snacks; and moderate intensity aerobic exercise.
Participants in the specially tailored weight loss program lost seven pounds more than the controls—and continued to lose weight and did not regain, despite the reduced frequency of classes and counseling sessions. In contrast, the general population tends to experience peak weight loss in the first six months and then rebound and gain part or all of their weight back.
On average, each participant was on three psychotropic medications, with half on lithium or mood stabilizers, all known to cause weight gain. But no matter what they were on, they lost the weight.
"We're showing behavioral interventions work regardless of what they're taking," Daumit said. Her group is now looking for ways to spread the program.
More information: Effects of a behavioral weight loss intervention in persons with serious mental illness. Daumit GL, Dickerson FB, Wang N-Y, Dalcin A, Jerome GJ, Anderson CA, Young DR, Frick KD, Yu A, Gennusa III JV, Oefinger M, Crum RM, Charleston J, Casagrande SS, Guallar E, Goldberg RW, Campbell LM, Appel LJ. NEJM, March 21, 2013.
Journal reference: New England Journal of Medicine
Provided by National Institutes of Health
- Study finds diet plus exercise is more effective for weight loss than either method alone Apr 14, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- 'Love your body' to lose weight Jul 18, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Primary care-based weight intervention helps obese patients reduce weight Nov 14, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Lose weight fast for lasting results, suggests new study May 06, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Current exercise recommendations may not be sufficient for overweight women to sustain weight loss Jul 28, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
The Durability of Bone: Long Falls
2 hours ago I am doing a paper on the physics in Valve's Portal and got interested in the "Long Fall Boots" that prevent any damage no matter how far you fall. I...
Is energy convertible to matter?
3 hours ago Can we convert energy to matter?
Rotating electron as a dipole is this right?
6 hours ago An electron as shown by the Stern Gerlach experiment behaves like a dipole (albeit only in one of two states). I have been trying to figure out how...
Dipole term in multipole expansion
10 hours ago Hi. I'm having some difficult in understanding something about the dipole term in a multipole expansion. Griffiths writes the expansion as a sum of...
Bubbles in a Pre-Boiling/Boiling pot of water
11 hours ago How is it that bubbles form on the bottom of a surface of a pot of boiling water? I think that there is probably an elementary answer to this...
Assumptions of Griffith's fracture theory
21 hours ago Any experts on Griffith's fracture theory? I am studying the subject and I am having hard time finding out if the theory is valid for all possible...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
As many as 35 percent of Mexican young adults may have a genetic predisposition for obesity, said a University of Illinois scientist who conducted a study at the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosί.
Overweight and Obesity 9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Overweight and obese patients are significantly more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to repeatedly switch primary care doctors, a practice that disrupts continuity of care and leads to more emergency room visits, ...
Overweight and Obesity 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Children who have suffered maltreatment are 36% more likely to be obese in adulthood compared to non-maltreated children, according to a new study by King's College London. The authors estimate that the prevention or effective ...
Overweight and Obesity 20 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Research by the University of Leeds has shown that very young children appear to reject story book characters who are overweight, but not those who are disabled.
Overweight and Obesity May 16, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 4
(HealthDay)—Weight gain in men and women is predicted by two different genetic variations—so-called polymorphisms, according to a new study from the Netherlands.
Overweight and Obesity May 15, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
13 hours ago | 4.2 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
10 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (9) | 0 |
An experimental sleeping pill from US drug company Merck is effective at helping people fall and stay asleep, according to reviewers at the US Food and Drug Administration, which could soon approve the new drug.
6 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0
Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May ...
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
12 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (6) | 0 |
A drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety may improve a stress-related heart condition in people with stable coronary heart disease, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |