Health behaviours of forensic mental health service users, in relation to smoking, alcohol consumption, dietary behaviours and physical activity – A mixed methods systematic review [2020]

People with mental disorders have increased risk of dying from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, both of which can be prevented by lifestyle.

To review existing research, in order to investigate the characteristics of, and factors that influence forensic mental health service users’ (FMU) health behaviours.

We searched PubMed, CINAHL, PsycInfo, and Scopus for primary research on FMU’s health behaviours regarding smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and dietary behaviours, and factors that influence them.

We found 13 eligible studies. The findings consistently indicated the presence of unfavourable health behaviours in FMU: Smoking, problematic alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and a high‐calorie diet of poor nutritional value. Changing smoking and dietary habits was perceived as difficult, but nicotine replacement and practical advice were suggested to support change.

The existing research on FMU’s health behaviours is sparse. In particular, there is a lack of research on factors that influence health behaviours. From our findings, it seems likely that FMU’s unfavourable health behaviours contribute to their increased risk of dying from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Implications for practice
FMU’s health behaviours should be improved to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in this high‐risk group.

Anne Louise Winkler Pedersen, Camilla Rosendal Lindekilde, Kjeld Andersen, Peter Hjorth, Frederik A. Gildberg
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 11 September 2020