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09-05-2012 | Mental health | Article

Gender differences in schizophrenia-related body composition changes


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MedWire News: Results from a Japanese study show that body composition changes associated with schizophrenia differ between men and women with the disorder.

The findings suggest that weight-loss interventions among patients with schizophrenia should be gender-specific.

Norio Sugawara (Hirosaki University School of Medicine) and colleagues studied 204 outpatients with schizophrenia and 204 mentally healthy individuals (controls). Each group contained 74 men and 130 women.

All of the participants were assessed for body mass index (BMI), and bioelectrical impedance was used to measure body fat, percentage body fat, fat-free mass, muscle mass, and body water.

The researchers found that men and women with schizophrenia had a significantly higher BMI than male and female controls, at 25.2 and 24.6 kg/m2 versus 23.4 and 22.1 kg/m2, respectively.

Among men, schizophrenia patients had significantly more body fat and percentage body fat than controls, at 20.2 versus 13.0 kg, and 27.7 versus 18.3%, respectively. They also had significantly less fat-free mass, muscle mass, and body water, at 49.0 versus 55.5 kg, 46.3 versus 52.6 kg, and 34.3 versus 38.4 kg, respectively.

In women, schizophrenia patients had significantly more body fat, fat-free mass, muscle mass, and body water than controls, at 19.8 versus 16.3 kg, 43.6 versus 38.5 kg, 41.2 versus 36.3 kg, and 31.3 versus 27.8 kg, respectively.

These differences remained significant after accounting for age and antipsychotic drug use, the researchers note.

"Our data demonstrate gender differences with regard to changes in body composition in association with schizophrenia," comment Sugawara and team in the Annals of General Psychiatry.

They conclude: "These results indicate that intervention programs designed to fight obesity among schizophrenic patients should be individualized according to gender."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Mark Cowen

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