Brief theory-based intervention to increase physical activity levels among obese men with severe mental illness: A feasibility study


Context: People with severe mental illness (SMI) have a reduced life expectancy notably because of cardiovascular disease and their metabolic consequences, including obesity. Although physical activity (PA) is recommended, people with SMI are insufficiently active and have high levels of sedentary behaviours. So, there is a need to develop interventions to increase PA. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the feasibility of a brief intervention on PA level among adults with obesity and SMI. Methods: Open 6-week brief intervention using a volitional help sheet based on the processes of change from the transtheoretical model and the implementation intention. PA and time spent in sedentary behaviours were evaluated using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Results: 12 men (mean age: 33.2±10.1) with obesity (mean BMI: 35.8±7.7 kg/m²) and diagnosis of SMI (75% with schizophrenia) were recruited. In terms of feasibility, the adherence rate was 100% and no drop-out was noted. 80% of participants reported that the project met their expectations and 92% would refer a relative or a peer to the project. Moreover, 77% reported that the project has facilitated another behaviour change (e.g., healthy eating). In terms of impact, a significant improvement were found regarding total PA (d = 0.76), walking behaviour (d = 1.01) and reduction in time spent sitting (d = -0.75). Conclusion: The theory-based brief intervention is feasible and has promising results. However, replication is needed with larger sample size to validate our results.

Acknowledgments: AJR is supported by the FRQS