Lifestyle Coaching May Be an Effective Treatment for Schizophrenia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This commentary critiques the Danish CHANGE trial, which evaluated 3 levels of outpatient intervention intensity, in a group of outpatients with obesity and schizophrenia. Neither adding care coordination with weekly nurse contacts alone nor combining this treatment with assertive community lifestyle coaching as compared to treatment as usual improved outcomes, which included cardiovascular disease risk calculation, cardiorespiratory fitness, weight, and self-reported behaviors such as smoking, physical activity, and diet. The CHANGE trial investigators appear strongly averse to recommending the development and implementation of lifestyle medicine programs as a major component when treating outpatients with severe mental disorders. The potential dismissal of lifestyle medicine as a component of treatment for severe mental disorders is problematic. Valuable lessons can be learned from more thoroughly analyzing secondary outcomes such as medical and psychiatric hospitalization rates and total health care cost. The CHANGE trial data analysis needs to be expanded beyond the focus on changes in weight and serum cholesterol. Insulin resistance and high refined carbohydrate intake may be major factors in determining both the medical and psychiatric clinical course of schizophrenia. Assertive community lifestyle coaching is a novel treatment modality. Evidence strongly suggests assertive community lifestyle coaching substantially decreases both psychiatric and medical hospitalization rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • assertive community lifestyle coaching
  • hospitalization rates
  • insulin resistance
  • insulin sensitivity
  • lifestyle coaching
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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