Self-reported body weight perception and dieting practices in community-dwelling patients with schizophrenia

Martin Strassnig, Jaspreet S. Brar, Rohan Ganguli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Introduction: Many patients with schizophrenia are exposed to serious health risks associated with their excess body weight. Evidence exists that even a moderate amount of weight loss may have significant health benefits. Thus, weight control in schizophrenia patients has become an important treatment goal. Although studies in the general population show that satisfaction with body weight is an important predictor for engagement in various weight loss measures, the perspective of schizophrenia patients has not been assessed. Method: Information on self-reported weight perception, desire to lose weight as well as weight loss attempts was obtained according to methods employed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Cycle III (NHANES III). Body weight and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Results: Perception of body weight and desire to lose weight were correlated to BMI. Both obese female and male subjects (BMI≥30) were aware of their weight status. However, whereas overweight females (BMI>25≤29.9) accurately perceived themselves so, males in this category had difficulties perceiving themselves overweight, and consequently neither wanted to lose weight, nor tried to lose weight. As means of weight loss, caloric restriction (diet) was most frequently employed (by more than 80% of study subjects); yet only a third of study subjects (34.4%) engaged in the recommended combination of diet and exercise to lose weight. Questionable weight loss practices were also frequently employed, especially among women. Conclusions: Obese patients (BMI≥30) were generally aware of their excess body weight and wanted to lose weight. Only non-obese, yet overweight males (BMI>25≤29.9) did not perceive themselves as overweight and consequently did not try to lose weight. Weight loss practices did not always follow established recommendations. Especially women were likely to approach weight loss with questionably appropriate and unsafe methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-432
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jun 15 2005


  • BMI
  • Body image
  • Diet
  • Obesity
  • Schizophrenia
  • Weight perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)


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