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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2012 Oct;36(5):483-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00916.x.

Increased prevalence of chronic physical health disorders in Australians with diagnosed mental illness.

Author information

  • 1Institute for Health and Social Science Research, CQUniversity, Queensland, Australia. d.scott@cqu.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare chronic physical health disorder prevalence amongst Australian adults with and without mental illness.

METHOD:

Total n=1,716 participants (58% female) with a mean age of 52 ± 13 years (range: 18 to 89 years) completed an online survey of Australian adults in 2010. Outcome measures including prevalence of chronic physical conditions and self-reported body mass index (BMI) in n=387 (23%) with a self-reported mental illness diagnosis were compared to respondents without mental illness.

RESULTS:

A significantly higher proportion of participants with mental illness were obese (BMI ≥ 30; 31 vs 24%, p=0.005). Adjusted odds ratios (OR) for coronary heart disease, diabetes, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and food allergies or intolerances (OR range: 1.54-3.19) demonstrated that chronic physical disorders were significantly more common in participants with a mental illness.

CONCLUSION:

Australian adults with a diagnosis for mental illness have a significantly increased likelihood of demonstrating chronic physical health disorders compared to persons without mental illness.

IMPLICATIONS:

Health professionals must be alert to the increased likelihood of comorbid chronic physical disorders in persons with a mental illness and should consider the adoption of holistic approaches when treating those with either a mental or physical illness.

© 2012 The Authors. ANZJPH © 2012 Public Health Association of Australia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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