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Early Interv Psychiatry. 2016 Jun;10(3):267-76. doi: 10.1111/eip.12230. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

Evaluating an individualized lifestyle and life skills intervention to prevent antipsychotic-induced weight gain in first-episode psychosis.

Author information

Early Psychosis Programme, The Bondi Centre, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, Australia.
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, School of Public Health, Sydney University, Sydney, Australia.
Department of Endocrinology, St. Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, Australia.
Diabetes and Obesity Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, Australia.
Schizophrenia Research Unit, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia.



Initiating antipsychotic medication frequently induces rapid, clinically significant weight gain. We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a lifestyle and life skills intervention, delivered within 4 weeks of antipsychotic medication initiation, in attenuating weight gain in youth aged 14-25 years with first-episode psychosis (FEP).


We undertook a prospective, controlled study in two early psychosis community services. Intervention participants (n = 16) received a 12-week individualized intervention delivered by specialist clinical staff (nurse, dietician and exercise physiologist) and youth peer wellness coaches, in addition to standard care. A comparison group was recruited from a similar service and received standard care (n = 12).


The intervention group experienced significantly less weight gain at 12 weeks compared to standard care (1.8 kg, 95% CI -0.4 to 2.8 vs. 7.8 kg, 4.8-10.7, P < 0.001). Thirteen per cent (2/16) of the intervention group experienced clinically significant weight gain (greater than 7% of baseline weight), while 75% (9/12) of the standard care group experienced this level of weight gain. Similar positive effects of the intervention were observed for waist circumference.


A lifestyle and life skills intervention delivered as part of standard care attenuated antipsychotic-induced weight gain in young people with FEP. The intervention was acceptable to the young people referred to the service. Such interventions may prevent the seeding of future disease risk and in the long-term help reduce the life expectancy gap for people living with serious mental illness.


first-episode psychosis; lifestyle intervention; weight gain

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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