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Obesity and its complications: a survey of inpatients at a secure psychiatric hospital

Camilla Haw (Consultant Psychiatrist, based at St Andrew's Healthcare, Northampton, UK)
Arleen Rowell (Head of Nutrition and Dietetics, based at St Andrew's Healthcare, Northampton, UK)

The British Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 1463-6646

Article publication date: 16 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Obesity is an important contributory factor to premature mortality and morbidity. The purpose of this study was to survey inpatients at a secure psychiatric hospital in order to determine the proportion that was overweight and obese. Further aims were to identify variables associated with obesity and the proportion of patients being treated for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidaemia.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross‐sectional survey of 234 adult male and female forensic and rehabilitation patients was carried out using routinely collected data.

Findings

Of the 144 males, 33.3 per cent were overweight and 47.2 per cent were obese. Of the 90 females, 20.0 per cent were overweight and 63.3 per cent were obese. More patients had gained weight in the last three months than had lost it. Being overweight or obese was associated with the prescription of antipsychotic medication and valproate. A total of 30.3 per cent of patients were being treated for hyperlipidaemia, 14.1 per cent for hypertension and 8.5 per cent for type II diabetes mellitus.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was conducted in an independent hospital, thus the results are not readily generalisable to the wider NHS. The authors were unable to report on the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This is a subject that merits further research.

Practical implications

Obesity is a major challenge in this patient population and requires active management to try and prevent complications. Patients need continuing education about healthy eating and encouragement to take exercise.

Originality/value

There is a paucity of published surveys of obesity and its complications in forensic populations.

Keywords

Citation

Haw, C. and Rowell, A. (2011), "Obesity and its complications: a survey of inpatients at a secure psychiatric hospital", The British Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 270-277. https://doi.org/10.1108/14636641111190033

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited