What is obesity in bipolar disorder?

Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI), which is a person’s weight divided by the square of his or her height. A person with a BMI of 30 or more on metric measures is generally considered obese. Being obese is a major risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

People with a severe mental illness are at increased risk of obesity, which may be due to genetic and/or socio-economic factors, lifestyle choices, and metabolic effects of many psychotropic medications.

What is the evidence for obesity in people with bipolar disorder?

Moderate quality evidence finds a small, increase in the rate of obesity in people with bipolar disorder compared to people without the disorder. The rate of obesity in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder is around 15%. Moderate to low quality evidence finds obesity is associated with worse symptoms and functioning. Weight loss following bariatric surgery is similar in people with bipolar disorder as in controls.

October 2021

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Last updated at: 12:42 am, 26th October 2021
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