Obesity in Schizophrenia: Screening, Monitoring, and Health Promotion


  • Lora Humphrey Beebe, PhD, APRN, BC, is Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.

Author contact: lbeebe1@utk.edu, with a copy to the Editor: mary@artwindows.com


PURPOSE.This paper reviews risks, assessments, antipsychotic medication choices, and lifestyle interventions for obesity in persons with schizophrenia.

CONCLUSIONS. Antipsychotic medication is the most important treatment choice. Simple diet teaching must take into account the cognitive limitations of clients with schizophrenia. After medical clearance is obtained, moderate exercise can be encouraged. Education about exercise benefits may increase motivation.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS. Nurses would be remiss to ignore the physical health effects of obesity in schizophrenia. Practitioners must choose psychiatric medications and provide health education, health promotion, and appropriate referrals to optimize quality of life for this group.