Effective and scalable lifestyle interventions are needed to address high rates of obesity in people with serious mental illness (SMI). This pilot study evaluated the feasibility of a behavioral weight loss intervention enhanced with peer support and mobile health (mHealth) technology for obese individuals with SMI. The Diabetes Prevention Program Group Lifestyle Balance intervention enhanced with peer support and mHealth technology was implemented in a community mental health setting. Thirteen obese individuals with SMI participated in a pre-post pilot study of the 24-week intervention. Feasibility was assessed by program attendance, and participant satisfaction and suggestions for improving the model. Descriptive changes in weight and fitness were also explored. Overall attendance amounted to approximately half (56 %) of weekly sessions. At 6-month follow-up, 45 % of participants had lost weight, and 45 % showed improved fitness by increasing their walking distance. Participants suggested a number of modifications to increase the relevance of the intervention for people with SMI, including less didactic instruction and more active learning, a simplified dietary component, more in depth technology training, and greater attention to mental health. The principles of standard behavioral weight loss treatment provide a useful starting point for promoting weight loss in people with SMI. However, adaptions to standard weight loss curricula are needed to enhance engagement, participation, and outcomes to respond to the unique challenges of individuals with SMI.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2015
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