Base rates of physical activity in Australians with schizophrenia
Objective: To determine the patterns of physical activity in Australians with schizophreniaand compare them to the general Australian population. Methods:People with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia (n=125) provided self-report BMIdata and descriptions of the type, intensity, and duration of their physical activityduring the previous week. This data was compared to population norms from theActive Australia Survey. The Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS) andKessler-10 (K-10) were used to screen for the presence and severity of psychopathologyand functional disturbance. Results: Excess body weight was more prevalent in study participants than the general population with 70% being overweight or obese. Half of the sample participated in sufficient physical activity in the previous week, a proportion similar to the general Australian population. The study participants reported more sessions of walking and moderate activity than the general population, but less time in vigorous activity. There were no differences between participants who had engaged in sufficient physical activity and those who did not, on BMI and psychological distress. Conclusions: Despite similar levels of physical activity to the general population, more of the people withschizophrenia were overweight. This suggests that their current activity levels may be insufficient to counteract other causes of excess weight such as diet and medication side effects. If replicated, these data suggest that weight control through exercise for people with schizophrenia will require either a substantial increase in vigorous activity or an overall activity level that exceeds the generalpopulation norm.