Patient and direct-care staff body mass index in a state mental hospital: implications for management

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Abstract

Objective

Obesity is a major problem among chronically psychotic patients.

Method

We assessed body mass index (BMI) of chronically psychotic patients on admission to a state mental hospital and in follow-up. We also compared patient BMI to staff BMI.

Results

The initial patient BMI (26.4 ± 5.8 kg/m2) was in the overweight range. The patient BMI (29.1 ± 5.8 kg/m2) increased (P < 0.0001) on follow-up and almost reached the level of obesity. Staff BMI (35.1 ± 8.6 kg/m2) was in the obese range with 64.9% meeting criteria of obesity and 29.9% meeting criteria of morbid obesity. African-American women made up 84.5% of clinical-care staff and constitute the race–sex mix most vulnerable to obesity in the US. Morbid obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) was five times more common among these African-American female clinical-care staff than among African-American women in the general US population.

Conclusion

Our findings may have treatment implications for chronically psychotic patients at risk for obesity.

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