Open Access Research article

Weight management in a cohort of Irish inpatients with serious mental illness (SMI) using a modular behavioural programme. A preliminary service evaluation

Chris J Bushe1*, Dermot McNamara1, Cliff Haley2, Mary Fleming McCrossan3 and Pat Devitt4

Author Affiliations

1 Eli Lilly and Company Ltd, Adelaide Road, Dublin, Ireland

2 Psychiatry Dept, Letterkenny General Hospital, Donegal, Ireland

3 Nursing Dept, Cleary House, Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland

4 Psychiatry Dept, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland

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BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:76  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-76

Published: 15 September 2008



Weight gain is commonly observed during psychotropic treatments for chronic forms of severe mental illness and is most rapid during the early treatment phases. All formats of behavioural weight intervention programmes have suggested that weight gain can be prevented or reversed in some patients. There is no data on these programmes in acutely unwell inpatients whom may be the major beneficiaries.


A modular behavioural intervention programme (Solutions for Wellness) used in SMI outpatients since 2002 in Ireland has been adapted for inpatient use. Preliminary data is reported from 5 centres in Ireland.


In 47 inpatients the mean weight change was +0.26 kg (SD 2.02) with a median change of 0 kg. Mean follow-up was 23.7 (SD 21.6) days, and median 14 days (range 6–98 days). There was no difference in mean weight change in those patients involved for > 35 days compared with < 35 days (+0.26 kg; 0.25 kg; p = 0.5). Weight loss or maintenance was seen in 70% of patients.


These preliminary data are supportive of the concept that acutely unwell inpatients with SMI may engage with a behavioural weight programme. Weight change observed contrasts with the significant weight gain often seen in most subjects. Further clinical trials are warranted.