Height and body mass index

What are antecedents of schizophrenia?

Antecedents such as abnormal height and BMI are subtle deviations in development that may become evident during childhood or adolescence. The presence of these deviations may foreshadow the later development of schizophrenia, however most children who exhibit these antecedents do not develop the disorder. Studies exploring antecedents are ideally based on representative, population-based samples that follow the group from birth through childhood and adolescence to adulthood. These studies can provide unique insights into the changes in developmental trajectories that may be associated with schizophrenia.

What is the evidence for height and BMI as antecedents of schizophrenia?

Moderate quality evidence suggests a small increased risk of schizophrenia in males who were underweight or shorter than average around 5 years prior to the onset of schizophrenia.

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests a medium effect of more leanness at birth, shorter height at 2.5 and 9 years, and higher BMI at 7 years, although no differences in BMI were reported at 2.5 and 9 years in a separate study. There may be slower growth in early childhood in females who later develop schizophrenia, with no differences in growth rate for males.

High quality evidence found no differences in birth length between people with schizophrenia and people without schizophrenia.

March 2022

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Last updated at: 3:27 pm, 29th March 2022
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Tags:  Height and BMI

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