Serious mental illness is associated with physical health comorbidities, however most research has focused on adults. We aimed to synthesise existing literature on clinical and behavioral cardiometabolic risk factors of young people on mental health inpatient units.
A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted, using electronic searches of PsycINFO, EMBASE, AMED, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Ovid MEDLINE. Eligible studies included child/adolescent mental health inpatient units for <25 years, reporting clinical/behavioral cardiometabolic risk factors. Studies containing adult samples, case-studies, or eating disorder populations were excluded. The main clinical outcome was weight, and main behavioral outcome was tobacco use.
Thirty-nine studies were identified (n = 809,185). Pooled prevalence rates of young people who were overweight (BMI > 25) was 32.4% (95% CI 26.1%–39.5%; n = 2789), and who were obese (BMI > 30) was 15.5% (95% CI 4.5%–41.6%; n = 2612). Pooled prevalence rates for tobacco use was 51.5% (95% CI 32.2–70.2; N = 804,018). Early signs of metabolic risk were observed; elevated blood cholesterol, presence of physical health conditions, and behavioral risk factors (e.g. physical inactivity).
This review highlights the vulnerability of young people admitted to inpatient units and emphasises the opportunity to efficiently monitor, treat and intervene to target physical and mental health.