Health monitoring and promotion among youths with psychiatric disorders: program development and initial findings.
ABSTRACT This study examined initial results of a standardized program of health risk monitoring of a large group of youths with psychiatric disorders treated in outpatient and day-treatment settings.
The program was implemented at 48 outpatient clinics and day-treatment programs operated by 13 child and general psychiatric centers throughout New York State. At quarterly intervals from June 2009 to April 2010, all youths were screened for body mass index percentile and level of physical activity, and youths aged 13 years and older were also screened for cigarette smoking and alcohol and drug use.
As of April 2010, a total of 2,095 youths were enrolled in the treatment programs, and an average of 79% or more had been screened for each health indicator. Rates of overweight (54%) and obesity (35%) were well above national norms and increased from preadolescence to adolescence. Approximately 37% of youths reported low levels of physical activity, which was associated with overweight and obesity (Cramér's v=.23). The rate of cigarette smoking was 19% statewide, in accord with national norms. Alcohol and drug use rates were low (10%) compared with national norms.
This statewide program demonstrated that it is feasible to monitor general medical health among youths with psychiatric disorders on a large scale. Overweight and obesity are major problems among young psychiatric patients, and objective measures of these patients' health status should be employed whenever possible.