Although physical inactivity is a leading cause of death and the Surgeon General recommends regular moderate physical activity, many Americans are inactive. Because of their increased burden of obesity and diabetes, people with severe mental illness (SMI) especially may benefit from physical activity, yet little is known about the prevalence and types of physical activity in people with SMI. We surveyed outpatients with schizophrenia and affective disorders at two psychiatric centers in Maryland and compared physical activity patterns to an age-gender-race-matched national sample (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III) of the general population. We found that people with SMI are overall less physically active than the general population, although the proportion with recommended physical activity levels was equal. The participants with SMI were more likely to walk as their sole form of physical activity. Within the SMI group, those without regular social contact and women had higher odds of being inactive.
From the *Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; †Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland; ‡Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland; §Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland; ∥Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland Center for Research on Services for Severe Mental Illness, Baltimore, Maryland; ¶Division of Services Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; #Veterans Administration Capitol Health Care Network Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Baltimore, Maryland; **Sheppard Pratt Health System, Baltimore, Maryland; and ††Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland.
Supported by National Institutes of Mental Health grant K08MH01787 (Dr. Daumit) and a grant from NARSAD (Dr. Dixon).
Send reprint requests to Gail L. Daumit, MD, MHS, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 2024 East Monument Street, Suite 2-500, Baltimore, MD 21205.