Physical health parameters: comparison of people with severe mental illness with the general population

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Introduction: Obesity is commonly associated with severe mental illness (SMI). Physical activity has been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality from chronic conditions. The aim of this exploratory study was to explore the physical health parameters and physical activity levels of people with SMI in North Queensland.

Method: Twenty participants from the general population and 21 participants with SMI volunteered to participate in this comparative study. Information regarding participants' physical activity levels in the previous 7 days was collected. Anthropometric measures were taken, including body mass index, blood pressure and waist-to-hip ratio.

Results: Body mass index was significantly higher for participants with SMI (p = 0.05). Total domestic and garden metabolic equivalent of task (MET) mean (p = 0.03), total leisure MET mean (p = 0.00), total moderate MET mean (p = 0.04), total vigorous MET mean (p = 0.01), total work MET mean (p = 0.05) and overall total physical activity (p = 0.00) scores were significantly higher for participants from the general population.

Conclusion: This study found differences in physical health parameters and activity levels between these two populations. These results can inform future occupational therapy by providing a direction for intervention.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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