This review of the literature uses the latest evidence related to weight management interventions for people with a severe mental illness. It is intended to help clinicians support people using their services to manage their weight if they wish to do so.
The review has analysed the efficacy of a number of interventions from existing research. There is still scope to radically transform how we support people to healthily manage their weight. The need for both psychological and peer support when managing weight is incredibly important, and so we encourage innovative ways to approach weight management within your organisations and to work in co-production with people who have a severe mental illness.
The review recommends selecting an anti-psychotic medication that is less likely to cause weight gain should be considered by the prescribing clinician and ensure that the adverse effects are discussed with the patient and plans are made with them to manage this risk.
The review shares that interventions that are effective to reduce BMI in people with a severe mental illness include a combination of lifestyle interventions such as increased exercise and dietary advice. However, for these to be effective, the interventions need to be sustained beyond six months, and delivered by qualified health professionals such as dietitians.