A Call for Improved Prevention and Reduction of Obesity Among Persons With Serious Mental Illness

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The primary purpose of this Open Forum is to alert the psychiatric community to a recently published policy paper by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), Obesity Reduction and Prevention Strategies for Individuals With Serious Mental Illness. The report was developed through a comprehensive review of materials and extensive discussions in an expert panel meeting held August 9–10, 2007. The report indicates that psychiatrists who disregard the physical health of their patients and focus only on treating the patient's psychiatric condition are not only neglectful but are also contributing to the epidemic of obesity among people with serious mental illness. The NASMHPD Medical Directors Council has concluded that psychiatrists in the public mental health system are doing far too little to prevent and reduce obesity among patients the system serves.

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