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Can J Psychiatry. 2001 Aug;46(6):549-55.

Body mass index in persons with schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Schizophrenia Treatment and Education Program, PsycHealth Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba.



Schizophrenia has been associated with several health concerns and risks. Overall mortality among persons with schizophrenia has been shown to be about twice that of the general population. There is growing concern that persons with schizophrenia may also be at risk for being overweight or obese, compared with the general population. To examine this possibility, the author compared the distribution of body mass index values (BMI = kg/m2) in people with schizophrenia with that of the Canadian population as a whole.


Weights and heights were obtained for 183 patients receiving treatment in a hospital-based program for persons with schizophrenia. These BMI values were compared with the results of Statistics Canada's 1996-1997 National Population Health Survey (NPHS), which provided average BMI values for the general population.


The average BMI in the study sample was 29.02, with the average for men being 28.49 (range 15.55 to 49.22, SD 6.25) and the average for women, 30.02 (range 19.30 to 45.71, SD 6.45). This is compared with the NPHS average BMI of 26.3 for men and 24.3 for women. The prevalence of obesity (BMI > 30) in the sample was 42.08%, 3.5 times that of the Canadian average of 12% and 2.8 times that of the 15% prevalence in Manitoba. In this sample, 26.78% had a BMI in the acceptable range, in contrast to the 48% of those in the NPHS who had a weight appropriate to their height.


This analysis provides evidence that the BMI distribution of the sample population is different from that of the national population as represented in the NPHS data. The data indicate that patients with schizophrenia are significantly heavier than the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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