Effects of severe mental illness on bone mineral density and body composition

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Hervey, Ashley Marie
Patterson, Jeremy A.

Bone density and body composition among the average population has been extensively researched; little research has been reported on the effects of Severe Mental Illness (SMI). Recent studies have suggested that individuals with SMI are at greater risk of osteoporosis, but the study groups have been primarily patients that required chronic institutionalized care. Purpose: To assess bone mineral density (BMD) and body composition in individuals with SMI. Methods: BMD of the forearm and femoral neck and body composition was measured by a DXA unit (Hologic QDR 4500). 28 individuals (15 male; 13 female) with Severe Mental Illness (bipolar (N=13), schizophrenia (N=4), schizoaffective (N=4), major depression/depression (N=2), and other (N=5)) volunteered for this study. Results: Total group (N=28) body fat percentage (35.5±9.4) and BMI (31.7±6.24) is significantly greater (<0.05) than the national and state averages. Forearm BMD results showed t-score values of 0.0±1.1 and femoral neck t-scores of -0.4±0.8. By groups, results showed bipolar (N=14) to have the highest body fat % (39.1±8.1 vs. 30.7±9.4 %, p<0.05) and greatest risk of CVD (DXA forearm t-score and femoral neck were normal). The schizophrenia group (N=5), (body fat % = 26.38±8.0; forearm t-score -0.6±1.43; femoral neck t-score -1.0±1.08), schizoaffective group (N=4), (body fat % = 27.33±3.8; forearm t-score -0.4+1.56; femoral neck t-score -0.4+0.51), major depression/depression group (N=2), body fat % = 32.8±8.13; forearm t-score 0.8±0.42 femoral neck t-score -0.4±0.42), and other (N=5), (body fat % = 34.7±8.33; forearm t-score -0.7±0.91; femoral neck t-score -0.9±0.70) were within normal range. Conclusion: People with SMI that are stabilized on a medication regime and integrated into the community do not appear to be at a greater risk of low BMD. Body composition findings agree with recent studies indicating that a higher incidence of obesity exists in individuals with SMI. Supported by WSU U-Link Award.

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Thesis (M.Ed.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Human Performance Studies.