In addition to our standard integrated wellness activities, some clients may choose to participate in our Healthy Challenge program, which is an extra level of education and support to reduce the risk of cardiometabolic syndrome.
Individuals with mental illnesses face particular risk for developing heart, pulmonary, and energy problems, collectively called "cardiometabolic syndrome." High Body Mass Index (BMI), hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension, and hyperglycemia are the components of this syndrome. Two classes of medications used to treat individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression – atypical antipsychotics and mood stabilizers – are known to exacerbate the problem, as are a number of the correlates of severe mental illness including a sedentary lifestyle and social isolation.
Participating patients receive access to a personal trainer for weight control and to promote lean muscle mass. They also receive a low-carbohydrate, high-lean-protein meal plan with six meals daily; psycho-education about the link between physical and mental health; tobacco cessation tools; nutritional education; meditation and relaxation classes, including yoga. Medication treatment of insulin resistance and/or hyperglycemia is provided as indicated.
The majority of patients who complete the healthy challenge program experience several changes in their physical functioning including:
- a statistically significant decrease in in body mass index (BMI)
- a decrease in their total cholesterol
- a decrease in their triglycerides