Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 42, Issue 10, pp 787–793 | Cite as

Physical activity, dietary habits and Coronary Heart Disease risk factor knowledge amongst people with severe mental illness

A cross sectional comparative study in primary care
  • David P. J. OsbornEmail author
  • Irwin Nazareth
  • Michael B. King



Evidence regarding Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) related lifestyle in people with severe mental illnesses (SMI) such as schizophrenia is sparse. We aimed to quantify adverse CHD knowledge, diet and exercise in a representative primary care sample, and to determine whether socio-economic deprivation explained any findings.


We compared CHD lifestyle and CHD knowledge in 74 people with SMI and 148 without from seven general practices. We measured CHD knowledge, dietary fibre, fats and exercise using validated instruments and adjusted for socio-economic status.


Fewer people with SMI had higher CHD knowledge: OR 0.49 (95% CI: 0.27–0.88), higher total exercise scores 0.49 (0.27–0.86), higher fibre 0.46 (0.26–0.82) or lower saturated fat diets 0.53 (0.30–0.94). These results were stable irrespective of antipsychotic medication, socio-economic status or type of statistical analysis.


High fat, low fibre diets, lack of exercise and smoking are the likely causes of the majority of CHD in this high-risk group, irrespective of medication and socio-economic deprivation. This lifestyle and particularly the lower CHD knowledge provides a theoretical focus for more comprehensive preventative CHD interventions in SMI.


mental disorders schizophrenia diet exercise cardiovascular disease 



We are grateful to all the participants, their general practitioners and practice staff. We also acknowledge the support of the Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust. DO was funded by a United Kingdom MRC research fellowship in Health Services Research. The study received additional funding from the North Central Thames Primary Care Research Network Research. Role of the funding source: The United Kingdom Medical Research Council funded this study, and reviewed the initial study design. The investigators were independent of the funding source. The funders had no role in the data collection, analysis, interpretation or writing of this report.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David P. J. Osborn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Irwin Nazareth
    • 2
  • Michael B. King
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Mental Health Sciences, (Hampstead Campus)Royal Free and University College Medical SchoolLondonUK
  2. 2.Dept. of Primary Care and Population Sciences, (Hampstead Campus)Royal Free and University College Medical SchoolLondonUK

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