The literature suggests an association between obesity and schizophrenia but fat mass and fat-free mass, which have been shown to be more predictive of all-cause mortality than only waist circumference and obesity [body mass index (BMI) ⩾30 kg/m2], have not been reported in psychotic disorders. We examined the detailed body composition of people with different psychotic disorders in a large population-based sample.
We used a nationally representative sample of 8082 adult Finns aged ⩾30 years with measured anthropometrics (height, weight, waist circumference, fat percentage, fat-free mass and segmental muscle mass). Psychiatric diagnoses were based on a consensus procedure utilizing the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID)-interview, case-notes and comprehensive register data.
Schizophrenia (including schizo-affective disorder) was associated with obesity [odds ratio (OR) 2.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5–3.6], abdominal obesity (waist circumference ⩾88 cm for women, ⩾102 cm for men) (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.3–3.6) and with higher fat percentage (mean difference 3.8%, 95% CI 2.0–5.7%), adjusted for age and gender, than in the remaining sample. The associations between schizophrenia and low fat-free mass and decreased muscle mass on trunk and upper limbs became statistically significant after adjusting for BMI. After further adjusting for current antipsychotic medication, education, diet and smoking, schizophrenia remained associated with obesity (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1–3.6) and abdominal obesity (OR 3.8, 95% CI 1.5–9.4). Participants with affective psychoses did not differ from the general population.
Individuals with schizophrenia have metabolically unfavorable body composition, comprising abdominal obesity, high fat percentage and low muscle mass. This leads to increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.