This study assessed phases one and two of a three-phase weight-loss program called RENEW—Recovering Energy Through Nutrition and Exercise for Weight Loss—among individuals with serious mental illness at four mental health centers. RENEW provides meal replacements twice daily and intensive instruction in nutrition and meal preparation, exercise, and goal setting for three months followed by three months of maintenance.
Individuals grouped by the psychiatric medication they took were assigned randomly to RENEW or to a control group.
Participants who completed RENEW (N=47) had lost more weight on average than had the control group (N=42) at three and six months (weight loss of 5.3 and 4.4 pounds, respectively, versus weight gain of .1 pounds and weight loss of .9 pounds, respectively; F=5.74, df=2 and 82, p=.005). Results did not vary on the basis of type of medication.
Weight loss programs that address cognitive impairments that may accompany serious mental illness can be effective. (Psychiatric Services 62:800–802, 2011)