Prevalence and determinants of physical activity in a mixed sample of psychiatric patients in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi medical journal. 2018;39(4):401-411
Plain language summary
Physical activity has been shown to considerably reduce the burden of several non-communicable disorders (are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression), such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and breast and colon cancers. The aim of the study is to estimate the prevalence of physical activity among a mixed group of patients with psychiatric illnesses in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the study sought to evaluate the associations between physical activity, patients with different psychiatric diagnoses and the use of psychotropic medications. The study is a cross-sectional observational study that recruited 1185 patients seeking psychiatric advice, with an average age of 38.0±13.0 years. Results indicate a low prevalence of physical activity in a large, mixed sample of patients with psychiatric illnesses in both inpatient and outpatient settings in Saudi Arabia. Authors conclude that physical activity levels vary according to the type of psychiatric disease and the medications used. They outline that it is important to assess the physical activity status in patients with psychiatric illnesses and promote physical activity programs among psychiatric patients.
OBJECTIVES To estimate prevalence of physical activity and its associations with various psychiatric disorders and the use of psychotropic medications. METHODS A cross-sectional observational study was carried out between July 2012 and June 2014. Patients were enrolled from a number of hospitals located in 5 regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. RESULTS A total of 1185 patients were included in current analysis: 796 were outpatients, and 389 were inpatients. Out of 1,185 patients, 153 (12.9%) were physically active. Much higher rates of physical activity were reported among males than females (15.9% versus 9.6%, p less than 0.001). According to the univariate analysis, higher rates of physical activity were positively correlated with primary bipolar disorders, the use of antianxiety medications and, to a lesser extent, use of antipsychotic medications, but they were negatively correlated with primary anxiety disorders, use of antidepressant medications, and use of multiple psychotropic medications. The associations between physical activity and primary bipolar disorders (odds ratio [OR]=2.47, p=0.002), use of antianxiety medications (OR=3.58, p=0.003), and use of multiple psychotropic medications (OR=0.33, p less than 0.001) remained significant after adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics. CONCLUSION We report a variable but generally low prevalence of physical activity among a large, mixed sample of psychiatric patients in Saudi Arabia. These findings may highlight the importance of assessing physical activity status of psychiatric patients and the critical need for physical activity promotion programs among this group of disadvantaged patients.