Is dietary pattern of schizophrenia patients different from healthy subjects?BMC Psychiatry 2007; 7:15BP
There are limited findings about dietary patterns and food preferences among patients suffering from schizophrenia. The main objective of this study was therefore to compare the nutritional pattern of schizophrenia patients with that of matched healthy subjects.
The dietary pattern of 30 hospitalized 16-67 years old schizophrenic patients (11 female) was compared with that of 30 healthy age and sex matched individuals as control group. Subjects' anthropometric measurements including weight, height and body mass index (BMI), semi-quantitative food frequency (FFQ), medical and food history questionnaires were also collected and FFQs were then scored using Food Guide Pyramid to obtain the dietary scores. Percent body fat (%BF) was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) method.
Female patients had more %BF and lower dietary pattern scores than that of their controls (32 +/- 3.6 vs 27.7 +/- 4.6 percent and 43.2 +/- 11.9 vs 54.5 +/- 10.7 points; respectively, p < 0.05 for both). They also consumed less milk and dairy products, fresh vegetables, fruits, chicken, and nuts compared with the female controls (p < 0.03). However, these patients used to eat more full-fat cream and carbonated drinks (p < 0.05). Male patients had lower BMI (22 +/- 4.7 vs 25.6 +/- 4.4; p < 0.05) than their counterpart controls but there was no significant difference between their %BFs. Moreover, they used to have more full-fat cream, hydrogenated fats, less red meat and nuts compared with the male controls (p < 0.05).
Schizophrenia patients have poor nutritional patterns. In particular, female patients have more percent body fat and lower dietary pattern scores compared with their healthy controls. All patients used to consume more fats and sweet drinks frequently. The findings of this study suggest that schizophrenia patients need specific medical nutrition therapies through limiting dietary fats and sugars intakes and weight control. Whether obesity is the consequence of disease, dietary preference or medications used remains to be cleared.