August 29, 2017
1 min read

Obesity rates higher in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder

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Martin T. Strassnig

Obesity was significantly more common among individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to recent findings.

“Individuals with schizophrenia and those with bipolar disorder have an increased prevalence of obesity and related comorbidities compared to the general population, although they are slightly less common and severe in people with [bipolar disorder] compared to [schizophrenia]. Individuals with both diagnoses are at increased risk of metabolic comorbidities, including dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and hyperglycemia, as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and metabolic syndrome,” Martin T. Strassnig, MD, of Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, and colleagues wrote.

To assess long-term progression of BMI in psychosis, researchers analyzed data from the Suffolk County Mental Health Project cohort for individuals first admitted for psychosis from September 1989 to December 1995. The study cohort included 146 individuals with schizophrenia and 87 with bipolar disorder. Participants were followed for 20 years.

Researchers found a statistically significant effect of time (P < .001) and diagnosis (P < .001) on BMI, but not between time and diagnosis.

The majority of the cohort had normal BMIs at the first two assessments.

Early overweight predicted subsequent obesity among participants with schizophrenia and those with bipolar disorder.

At 20-year follow-up, approximately 50% of participants with bipolar disorder and 62% with schizophrenia were obese.

Overall, obesity was more common in participants with schizophrenia at each assessment (P < .02 for all), except at year 4 and 20.

“Interestingly, the use of antipsychotic medication was not associated with longitudinal differences in the course of weight gain, nor was the type or availability of antipsychotics,” Strassnig said in a press release. “In fact, during years 10 to 20, when the likelihood of being exposed to the group of weight gain-causing second-generation drugs was greatest, there is evidence of plateauing of weight gain. Moreover, neither gender nor race was associated with the rate of weight gain post baseline.” – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosure: Strassnig reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for a full list of relevant financial disclosures.