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Open Access Research article

The prevalence of metabolic syndrome amongst patients with severe mental illness in the community in Hong Kong – a cross sectional study

Daniel T Bressington1*, Jolene Mui2, Eric F C Cheung3, Joel Petch1, Allan B Clark4 and Richard Gray5

Author Affiliations

1 The Department of Health, Well-being and the Family, Canterbury Christ Church University, North Holmes Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1QU, UK

2 Community Psychiatric Service, Castle Peak Hospital, 15 Tsing Chung Koon Road, Tuen Mun, New Territories, Hong Kong

3 Castle Peak Hospital, 15 Tsing Chung Koon Road, Tuen Mun, New Territories, Hong Kong

4 Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK

5 University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY, UK

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BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:87  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-87

Published: 18 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Patients with severe mental illness are at increased risk of developing metabolic disorders. The risk of metabolic syndrome in the Hong Kong general population is lower than that observed in western countries; however the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in patients with severe mental illness in Hong Kong is unknown.

Method

This cross-sectional study aimed to estimate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in patients with severe mental illness in Hong Kong and to identify the relationships between metabolic syndrome and socio-demographic, clinical and lifestyle factors.

Results

A total of 139 patients with a diagnosis of severe mental illness participated in the study. The unadjusted prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 35%. The relative risk of metabolic syndrome in comparison with the general Hong Kong population was 2.008 (95% CI 1.59-2.53, p < 0.001). In a logistic regression model sleep disruption and being prescribed first generation antipsychotics were significantly associated with the syndrome, whilst eating less than 3 portions of fruit/vegetables per day and being married were weakly associated.

Conclusion

The results demonstrate that metabolic syndrome is highly prevalent and that physical health inequalities in patients with severe mental illness in Hong Kong are similar to those observed in western countries. The results provide sufficient evidence to support the need for intervention studies in this setting and reinforce the requirement to conduct regular physical health checks for all patients with severe mental illness.

Keywords:
Severe mental illness; Metabolic syndrome; Health behaviours; Physical health screening