Lack of physical activity during leisure time contributes to an impaired health related quality of life in patients with schizophrenia

Davy Vancampfort, Michel Probst, Thomas Scheewe, Katrien Maurissen, Kim Sweers, Jan Knapen, Marc De Hert
Schizophrenia Research 2011, 129 (2-3): 122-7

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to identify if lack of physical activity participation and an impaired functional exercise capacity compared with healthy controls contributed to an impaired health related quality of life (HRQL). We also evaluated whether the presence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) could explain the variability in HRQL in patients.

METHOD: Patients with DSM-IV schizophrenia (n=60) and age- and gender-matched healthy controls (n=40) completed the SF-36 quality of life scale and the Baecke Physical Activity Questionnaire and performed a 6 minute walk test (6MWT). Patients also received a fasting metabolic laboratory screening. Linear multiple regression analysis was used to assess the associations between demographical and clinical variables and HRQL outcomes.

RESULTS: Physical and mental HRQL and the Baecke and 6MWT-scores were significantly lower in patients with schizophrenia compared with matched healthy controls. When in schizophrenia patients all individual HRQL-predictors were included in a regression model, only BMI and lack of PA during leisure time remained significant predictors for physical HRQL while for mental HRQL no significant predictor remained. The impaired functional exercise capacity and the presence of MetS did not additionally explain the variance in HRQL.

CONCLUSIONS: Physical HRQL in patients with schizophrenia is not only related to increased BMI but also to lack of leisure time physical activity. A reduced physical HRQL in patients with MetS appears to be related to their greater BMI, rather than to MetS per se. Present findings provide further support for routinely incorporating physical activity within rehabilitation programs and clinical assessments.

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