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Prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome in a long-stay psychiatric unit

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 June 2014

Itoro Udo*
Liaison Psychiatry, Roseberry Park Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
Mary Mooney
St. John of God Hospital, Stillorgan, Dublin. Formerly Clinical Director, Carlow/Kilkenny Mental Health Service, Ireland
Alison Newman
St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny, Ireland
*Correspondence E-mail:


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and obesity as defined by Body Mass Index (BMI) in a long-stay psychiatric unit where all care is provided by the psychiatric team.

Method: All residents in this long-stay unit were screened. Their BMI was calculated. Waist circumference and blood investigations were done. Ward records were used to determine those who had been previously diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes. The ATP 111 criteria were used to determine the prevalence of metabolic syndrome.

Results: We found a prevalence of 33% for BMI obesity and a prevalence of 66% for metabolic syndrome. These are higher than those of the general Irish middle aged population and the accepted estimate of a general psychiatric population. It is also higher than that of a previous published study on an Irish long-stay psychiatric ward population.

Conclusion: There is high prevalence of BMI obesity and metabolic syndrome in long-stay psychiatric residents. This has the potential to impact significantly on physical morbidity and mortality. People with severe and enduring mental illness should have access to primary care and other health services on the same basis as any other citizen.

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