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The high prevalence of poor physical health and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours in individuals with severe mental illness

journal contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by David ScottDavid Scott, Brenda Happell
Recent mental health care policy has addressed the need for health care professionals to consider the physical health of consumers. Mental health nurses are particularly well-placed for this role. To provide mental health nurses with practical information, this narrative review summarises evidence from recent research on the physical health of individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI). In those with SMI, the international prevalence of obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, symptoms of cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease all exceed that of the general population by at least two times, and HIV prevalence maybe increased by as much as eight times. This increased prevalence of chronic disease may be largely responsible for an increased risk of death of up to five times, resulting in as much as 30 years of potential life lost. Of particular concern, the recent evidence suggests that for physical health and increased mortality, the gap between individuals with SMI and the general populationis worsening. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviours undoubtedly play a role in the development of poor physical health and chronic disease, and the present review indicates that low physical activity, poor diet, smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviour are common in individuals with SMI. This narrative review demonstrates that the prevalence of poor physical health and health behaviours in people with SMI far exceed that observed in the general population, and reinforces the urgent need for mental health nurses to address physical health concerns in patients.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

32

Issue

9

Start Page

589

End Page

597

Number of Pages

9

eISSN

1096-4673

ISSN

0161-2840

Location

USA

Publisher

Informa Healthcare

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

External Author Affiliations

Institute for Health and Social Science Research (IHSSR); Institute for Health and Social Science Research (IHSSR);

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Issues in mental health nursing.

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