Psychiatr Prax 2004 Jul;31(5):250-4
Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie I, J.-W.-Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt/M.
Objective: Epidemiological studies show overweight to be a major health problem in Germany. There is some evidence that psychiatric patients often are overweight. In view of the high frequency of weight gain during the treatment with neuroleptics, particularly atypicals, in this study the bodyweight of schizophrenics should be examined.
Methods: The body-mass-index (BMI) of two samples of schizophrenic inpatients was compared to BMI-data of the German general population.
Results: 90 inpatients with the first episode of schizophrenic psychoses showed an average BMI of 22.2 +/- 3.3. The BMI in all age groups were lower compared to the general population, but in a follow-up these patients showed a higher weight gain. 238 chronic schizophrenic inpatients with at least 5 years duration of illness (mean 15.3 +/- 8.3 years) showed BMI-values in the range of the general population. Only the age group 30 - 35 years showed a significantly higher BMI. However, in many age groups of schizophrenic inpatients the proportion of obesity (BMI > 30) was higher compared to the general population.
Conclusions: The bodyweight of first episode schizophrenics is lower compared to the general population. In contrast, chronic schizophrenic patients frequently are overweight or show obesity. However, thus far the causes of pronounced weight gain in schizophrenic patients remain to be elucidated.