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Healthcare 2014, 2(2), 166-182;

Obesity and Serious Mental Ill Health: A Critical Review of the Literature

Mental Health Nursing, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 February 2014 / Revised: 14 March 2014 / Accepted: 17 March 2014 / Published: 1 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Burden of Obesity in Health Care)
Full-Text   |   PDF [132 KB, uploaded 1 April 2014]


Individuals who experience serious mental ill health such as schizophrenia are more likely to be overweight or obese than others in the general population. This high prevalence of obesity and other associated metabolic disturbances, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, contribute to a reduced life expectancy of up to 25 years. Several reasons have been proposed for high levels of obesity including a shared biological vulnerability between serious mental ill health and abnormal metabolic processes, potentially compounded by unhealthy lifestyles. However, emerging evidence suggests that the most significant cause of weight gain is the metabolic side effects of antipsychotic medication, usual treatment for people with serious mental ill health. In this paper we review the prevalence of obesity in people with serious mental ill health, explore the contribution that antipsychotic medication may make to weight gain and discuss the implications of this data for future research and the practice of mental health and other professionals. View Full-Text
Keywords: serious mental illness; obesity; physical health serious mental illness; obesity; physical health
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Bradshaw, T.; Mairs, H. Obesity and Serious Mental Ill Health: A Critical Review of the Literature. Healthcare 2014, 2, 166-182.

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