Prevalence of metabolic syndrome among Australians with severe mental illness

Med J Aust. 2009 Feb 16;190(4):176-9. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02342.x.


Objective: To assess the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its association with sociodemographic, clinical and lifestyle variables among Australian patients with a variety of psychiatric disorders.

Design and setting: Cross-sectional study of patients attending a public mental health service in Western Australia between July 2005 and September 2006.

Participants: Patients who were aged 18-65 years; diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms, drug-induced psychosis or borderline personality disorder; and currently taking at least one antipsychotic drug for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Main outcome measures: Prevalence of metabolic syndrome diagnosed with International Diabetes Federation criteria; fasting blood glucose and lipid levels; sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics.

Results: Of 219 patients invited to participate, 203 agreed and had complete data. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 54% overall, and highest among patients with bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder (both 67%), followed by schizophrenia (51%). Sociodemographic variables, including age and ethnic background, were not significantly associated with metabolic syndrome, but a strong association was seen with mean body mass index. Other cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking and substance misuse, were common among participants.

Conclusions: Prevalence of metabolic syndrome in this population was almost double that in the general Australian population, and patients with schizophrenia had a prevalence among the highest in the developed world. Prevalence was also high in patients with a variety of other psychiatric disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Weight
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waist Circumference
  • Western Australia / epidemiology
  • Young Adult