Introduction: Antipsychotic medication and lifestyle factors are implicated in the high rates of obesity and metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia. While the two Consensus Statements made in 2004 concluded they were unclear whether psychiatric disorders per se accounted for increased prevalence of metabolic disorders several later studies have presented the case for an association between schizophrenia and metabolic disorders, especially impaired glucose metabolism and Type 2 diabetes mellitus, independent of antipsychotic drug treatment. Methods: This is a comparative study of 51 patients with chronic schizophrenia who never received antipsychotic drug treatment and 51 healthy controls. Physical and laboratory assessments were made to measure body-mass index and diagnose metabolic syndrome using the International Diabetes Federation (2006) criteria. Results: The study observed a significantly lower mean body-mass index in patients (19.4) than controls (22.7) and very low and comparable rates of metabolic syndrome (3.9% in patients, 7.8% in controls). Discussion: Economic affordability and lifestyles modified by living conditions were discussed as factors underlying the high rates of underweight in the patient population and low rates of metabolic disorders in all the study subjects. The study concluded that schizophrenia in the absence of antipsychotic drug treatment is not a factor contributing to high prevalence of metabolic abnormalities. Lifestyle factors and the social and economic circumstances that drive them should be considered for better understanding and management of excess weight gain and metabolic abnormalities in people with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia Research Vol. 121, Issue 1-3, p. 199-202