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Schizophr Res. 2013 Oct;150(1):211-6. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.07.022. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

Racial patterns of cardiovascular disease risk factors in serious mental illness and the overall U.S. population.

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Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 2024 E. Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. Electronic address:



Serious mental illness (SMI) and minority race are each associated with elevated cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. However, little is known about racial variation in CVD risk factors in individuals with SMI. This study aimed to determine racial patterns of CVD risk factors in individuals with SMI and to compare these patterns to those of the general population.


Overweight/obese adults with SMI (163 whites; 111 African Americans) examined from 2008 to 2011 during a weight loss trial were compared at study baseline to overweight/obese adults (1103 whites; 550 African Americans) of similar age, sex, and race in the 2007 to 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.


All CVD risk factors except cholesterol were higher in SMI than the overall U.S. population. After adjusting for age and sex, both racial groups with SMI had similarly high risks of smoking, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, while African Americans with SMI had lower risks of high cholesterol (RR 0.73; 95% CI 0.57-0.94) and metabolic syndrome (RR 0.75; 95% CI 0.63-0.91) than whites with SMI. In the U.S. population sample, African Americans compared to whites had higher risks of obesity (RR 1.23; 95% CI 1.14-1.34), diabetes (RR 1.68; 95% CI 1.21-2.34), and hypertension (RR 1.44; 95% CI 1.31-1.60) but no significant difference in smoking, high cholesterol, and metabolic syndrome.


Compared to the general population, the greater burden and dissimilar racial pattern of CVD risk factors in SMI underscore the need for CVD prevention programs targeting the SMI population.


Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Diabetes; Hypertension; Obesity; Racial disparities; Serious mental illness

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