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Keywords:

  • diabetes;
  • exercise;
  • physical activity;
  • physical fitness;
  • schizophrenia

Aim

The aim of this study was to determine if in schizophrenia patients the presence of diabetes is associated with lower physical activity participation and lower exercise capacity compared to patients with pre-diabetes and to patients without (pre-) diabetes.

Methods

Schizophrenia patients without (pre-)diabetes (n = 86) were compared with pre-diabetic (n = 10) and diabetic patients (n = 10). Patients were assessed on physical activity participation using the Baecke physical activity questionnaire and on exercise capacity using a 6-min walk test (6MWT).

Results

The three groups were similar in age, sex, mean antipsychotic medication dose, negative and depressive symptoms and smoking behavior. Distance achieved on the 6MWT, however, was approximately 15% shorter (P < 0.05) in patients withdiabetes than in patients without (pre-)diabetes (500.3 ± 76.9 m vs 590.7 ± 101.8 m). Patients with diabetes were also significantly less physically active (P < 0.05). No differences between diabetic and pre-diabetic patients were found. Pre-diabetic patients had a higher body mass index (BMI) than non-diabetic patients (30.0 ± 7.3 vs 24.3 ± 4.3, P < 0.05). An interaction effect with BMI for differences in Baecke (F = 29.9, P < 0.001) and 6MWT (F = 13.0, P < 0.001) scores was seen between diabetic and non-diabetic patients on univariate ANCOVA.

Conclusion

The additive burden of diabetes might place patients with schizophrenia at an even greater risk for functional limitations in daily life.