Assessing Obesity and Other Related Health Problems
of Mentally Ill Hispanic Patients in an Urban Outpatient
David J. Hellerstein, M.D. Æ Goretti Almeida, M.B.A Æ Michael J. Devlin, M.D. Æ
Nathaniel Mendelsohn, A.B. Æ Stacia Helfand, M.Ed. Æ Dianna Dragatsi, M.D. Æ
Raquel Miranda, R.N. Æ Julie R. Kelso, M.D. Æ Lucia Capitelli, R.N.
Published online: 7 April 2007
Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007
Objective This paper describes the role of an agency Clinical Director in developing a
project to assess and begin to address obesity-related health problems of patients treated in
a community-based mental health clinic in New York City. After a ﬁve year review of
outpatient deaths revealed a high rate of deaths from cardiovascular and diabetes-related
issues, the Clinical Director assembled a group of clinicians, researchers, and adminis-
trative staff to design a pilot project to assess health and nutrition status of primarily
Hispanic day treatment patients with severe and persistent mental illness.
Method About 69 of the 105 patients at the clinic were assessed by chart review,
interview about nutritional habits and medical care, and somatic measurements for blood
pressure, weight, girth, body mass index (BMI), glucose and lipid levels.
Results Patients were predominantly between the ages of 25 and 64 years, 51% were
female, and 78% were Hispanic. Around 57% were diagnosed with schizophrenia-spec-
trum disorders, 86% were receiving antipsychotic medications, and 25% were on two or
more antipsychotics. Only 11% of the women and 41% of the men had normal weight. A
total of 29% of the women and 18% of the men were overweight (BMI = 25–29.9); and an
additional 60% of the women and 41% of the men were obese (BMI ! 30). Atypical
antipsychotic treatment was signiﬁcantly associated with obesity (BMI ! 30) (chi sq = 5.5,
DavidJ. Hellerstein, M.D. (&) Á G. Almeida, M.B.A Á M. J. Devlin, M.D. Á N. Mendelsohn, A.B. Á
S. Helfand, M.Ed. Á D. Dragatsi, M.D. Á R. Miranda, R.N. Á J. R. Kelso, M.D. Á L. Capitelli, R.N.
New York State Psychiatric Institute, Harkness Pavilion, Room #HP256, 180 Fort Washington Ave., New
York, NY 10032, USA
DavidJ. Hellerstein, M.D. Á M. J. Devlin, M.D. Á D. Dragatsi, M.D. Á L. Capitelli, R.N.
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA
N. Mendelsohn, A.B.
Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
S. Helfand, M.Ed.
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Psychiatr Q (2007) 78:171–181