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Outcome Evaluation of a Structured Educational Wellness Program in Patients With Severe Mental Illness

J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(10):1385-1396
10.4088/JCP.08m04740yel

Objective: Obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States, as is the obesity rate in patients with schizophrenia. Our study retrospectively evaluated the effectiveness of the Solutions for Wellness and Team Solutions programs, 2 structured educational patient programs, and evaluated the effects on obesity and other metabolic markers in a large, naturalistic inpatient sample.

Method: Between September 18, 2006, and September 15, 2007, 275 inpatients with DSM-IV-TR–diagnosed chronic mental illness admitted to a tertiary care psychiatric facility were included in the 36-week comprehensive and manualized educational program for healthy lifestyles for patients with chronic mental illness incorporating psychoeducational small-group curricula. Patients were tested before and after each of three 12-week group periods by 30 knowledge-assessment questions, and metabolic markers were recorded at baseline, midpoint, and endpoint.

Results: Of the 275 included inpatients, 50.5% completed more than 5 modules, 20.4% completed less than or equal to 2 or fewer modules, and 5.1% completed all 11 modules. Significant increases in scores were observed for 7 of the 11 modules in the knowledge assessments (P<.001). Eighty-seven patients (43.72%) had a body mass index (BMI) ≥30 (indicating obesity) at the start of the program. There was a significant mean weight loss of 4.88 lb (P=.035) together with a significant decrease in mean BMI (P=.045). Patients with diabetes showed a reduction in mean weight of 5.98 lb. Significant reductions were observed in glucose and triglyceride levels (both P<.05). Patients with impaired glucose tolerance showed a significantly greater decrease in glucose level (P=.000). Sixty-nine patients (25.46%) met criteria for metabolic syndrome at baseline, and this number was reduced to 53 patients (19.56%) at endpoint; this decrease was significant (P=.027). Regarding relationship of change in knowledge after completion of the modules and metabolic changes, we found a significant correlation between reduction in weight and change in Fitness and Exercise score (r=0.62, P=.001) and a significant correlation between the change score on Nutrition/Healthy Lifestyles and change in glucose values (r=0.56, P=.001).

Conclusions: We found that a structured wellness program using a psychoeducational curriculum can be successfully implemented in a large, naturalistic psychiatric setting with unselected, chronically mentally ill inpatients. Results may help both clinicians and hospital managers to implement similar programs or to include successful components in existing programs for psychiatric patients.


Submitted: September 24, 2008; accepted January 2, 2009.

Online ahead of print: September 22, 2009.

Corresponding author: Anzalee Khan, MS, MA, Manhattan Psychiatric Center, 1 Wards Island Complex, Dunlap 15th Floor, Wards Island, NY 10035 (akhan@NKI.rfmh.org).