Renewed call for lifestyle interventions to address obesity among individuals with serious mental illness in the COVID-19 era and beyond

Transl Behav Med. 2021 Jul 29;11(7):1359-1364. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibab076.


Behavioral health has the opportunity to lead the way in using lifestyle interventions to address obesity and health disparities in people with serious mental illness (SMI) in the COVID-19 era. Evidence-based interventions for weight loss in individuals with SMI exist, and the field has developed strategies for implementing these interventions in real-world mental health care settings. In addition to promoting weight loss, lifestyle interventions have the potential to address social isolation and loneliness and other patient-centered outcomes among individuals with SMI, which will be especially valuable for mitigating the growing concerns about loneliness attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on in-person encounters. In this commentary, we discuss practice, policy, and research implications related to using evidence-based lifestyle interventions for individuals with SMI during the COVID-19 pandemic and sustaining these programs in the long-term.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Health promotion; Implementation; Obesity; Serious mental illness.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Mental Disorders* / complications
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2