Interventions to Address Medical Conditions and Health-Risk Behaviors among Persons with Serious Mental Illness: A Comprehensive Review

Emma E. McGinty, Julia Baller, Susan T. Azrin, Denise Juliano-Bult, Gail L. Daumit

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


People with serious mental illness (SMI) have mortality rates 2 to 3 times higher than the overall US population, largely due to cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and diabetes mellitus and other conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, is heightened in this group. Based on the recommendations of a National Institute of Mental Health stakeholder meeting, we conducted a comprehensive review examining the strength of the evidence surrounding interventions to address major medical conditions and health-risk behaviors among persons with SMI. Peer-reviewed studies were identified using 4 major research databases. Randomized controlled trials and observational studies testing interventions to address medical conditions and risk behaviors among persons with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder between January 2000 and June 2014 were included. Information was abstracted from each study by 2 trained reviewers, who also rated study quality using a standard tool. Following individual study review, the quality of the evidence (high, medium, low) and the effectiveness of various interventions were synthesized. 108 studies were included. The majority of studies examined interventions to address overweight/obesity (n = 80). The strength of the evidence was high for 4 interventions: metformin and behavioral interventions had beneficial effects on weight loss; and bupropion and varenicline reduced tobacco smoking. The strength of the evidence was low for most other interventions reviewed. Future studies should test long-term interventions to cardiovascular risk factors and health-risk behaviors. In addition, future research should study implementation strategies to effectively translate efficacious interventions into real-world settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-124
Number of pages29
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • intervention
  • medical
  • obesity
  • schizophrenia
  • somatic
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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