Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Bipolar Patients Have Average Activity Levels

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Bipolar Patients Have Average Activity Levels

Article excerpt

Self-reported physical activity is not lower in people with bipolar disorder than in the general population, according to a large Canadian survey.

"This is of particular concern as [bipolar disorder] patients have been found to be at greater risk for a variety of chronic physical health problems, including dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity," noted Dr. John Cairney of the department of family medicine at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., and his associates (Ment. Health Phys. Act. 2009;2:65-70).

Understanding habitual physical activity in the bipolar population could be useful in designing targeted interventions, they said.

The researchers used an extensive measure of physical activity to examine whether people with bipolar disorder are less physically active than others, whether there are subgroups of people with bipolar disorder who are more or less likely to be active, and whether physical activity is associated with body mass index in this population.

Of 36,984 people, 831 (2.2%) met the criteria for bipolar disorder. Those with bipolar disorder were compared with respondents diagnosed with probable lifetime major depression and those not meeting criteria for either mood disorder.

Physical activity was measured by estimating total energy expenditure based on participation in 20 physical activities in the previous 3 months. Its intensity was expressed as the low-end metabolic equivalent of the activity. Those expending at least 3.0 kcal/kg a day were classified as active; those expending 1.5-3.0 kcal/kg a day, moderately active; and those expending less than 1.5 kcal/kg a day, physically inactive.

There were no differences in the proportion of respondents classified as active, moderately active, or inactive in those with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, or the general population. …

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