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Physical fitness and activity levels among chinese people with schizophrenia: A cross-sectional study with matched case-control comparison

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Daniel Bressington, Yan Li, Sabina Hulbert, Yim Wah Mak

Original languageEnglish
Article number3564
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Published2 May 2020

King's Authors


People with schizophrenia have an increased risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases and a reduced life expectancy. Studies conducted mainly inWestern settings report low amounts of activity and poor levels of fitness in this population. This study aims to compare physical fitness and activity levels between people with schizophrenia/healthy matched controls and investigate potential associations between these variables. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 57 community-dwelling people with schizophrenia and 57 age-, gender- and body mass index (BMI)-matched controls. Participants completed the international physical activity questionnaire and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) fitness assessment protocol with accompanying cardiovascular/lung function tests. Cardiorespiratory fitness was significantly better in healthy matched controls than individuals with schizophrenia in all areas (all p < 0.05, d = 0.38 to 1.06). Performance in best trunk flexion, half sit-ups and one-minute pulse recovery following the three-min step test were significantly worse in the schizophrenia group (all p < 0001, d = 0.76 to 1.04). Higher levels of weekly moderate activity (t = –2.66, p = 0.009) and total weekly activity levels (t = –2.013, p = 0.047) were reported by the healthy controls. Levels of vigorous activity were significantly correlated with some areas of lung functioning in the schizophrenia group (all p < 0.05). The findings show that Chinese people with schizophrenia have significantly poorer fitness than matched healthy controls, demonstrating the need to provide timely effective exercise-based interventions as a matter of routine to attenuate the risk of developing chronic physical illnesses.

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