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Reliability and Practicality of Measuring Waist Circumference to Monitor Cardiovascular Risk Among Community Mental Health Center Patients

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical utility of measuring waist circumference (WC) in obese individuals with severe psychiatric disabilities. Reliability of the measure and researchers’ comfort were assessed. Thirty outpatients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were recruited from an urban community mental health center and WC was measured using two methods by three different raters. Inter- and intra-rater reliability was calculated. Raters reported on their comfort with obtaining WC. There was good inter-rater reliability and an acceptable rate of error independent of measurement location. Overall, raters were not comfortable with the WC measurement process for multiple reasons and reported difficulty with the measurement process. Our findings suggest that non-medical staff can reliably and validly measure WC within a typical outpatient mental health treatment setting, but discomfort with the procedure and difficulty with the measurement process may interfere with this practice as part of usual care.

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This research is supported by the following grant from the National Institutes of Health: 5R01-MH80048-2.

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Correspondence to Jessica Barber.

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Barber, J., Palmese, L., Chwastiak, L.A. et al. Reliability and Practicality of Measuring Waist Circumference to Monitor Cardiovascular Risk Among Community Mental Health Center Patients. Community Ment Health J 50, 68–74 (2014).

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