It seems there’s a mind-body connection when it comes to mental illness.
A task force of over 30 international experts led by researchers from Australia and England has found that a broad range of mental illnesses is associated with a lifelong burden of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The scientists say patients with serious mental illnesses are two to three times more likely to have these conditions.
And this results in a gap in life expectancy of around 20 years for people with mental health problems.
There are multiple reasons for this discrepancy, including smoking, sleep problems, physical inactivity, medication side effects and a lack of access to physical healthcare.
The diets of people with mental health diseases are also significantly worse, especially in the case of schizophrenia.
To resolve the disparity, the researchers emphasize the need to find innovative and cost-effective ways to improve diet, physical activity and heart health in this population.
You can read about the research in Lancet Psychiatry.