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Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and smoking status among psychiatric patients in Singapore – a cross-sectional study

  • Seet, Vanessa1
  • Abdin, Edimansyah1
  • Asharani, P. V.1
  • Lee, Ying Ying1
  • Roystonn, Kumarasan1
  • Wang, Peizhi1
  • Devi, Fiona1
  • Cetty, Laxman1
  • Teh, Wen Lin1
  • Verma, Swapna2
  • Mok, Yee Ming3
  • Subramaniam, Mythily1
  • 1 Research Division, Institute of Mental Health,
  • 2 Institute of Mental health,
  • 3 Institute of Mental Health,
Published Article
BMC Psychiatry
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Feb 18, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12888-021-03103-7
PMID: 33602151
PMCID: PMC7893878
PubMed Central


Background Unhealthy behaviours such as physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour and smoking have been found to be more prevalent in people with psychiatric disorders than in the general population, leading to increased mortality risk. The present study seeks to identify correlates of physical activity and sedentary behaviour among psychiatric patients in Singapore, as well as investigate differences in their physical activity patterns by smoking status. Methods Participants ( n  = 380) were recruited from a tertiary psychiatric hospital in Singapore as part of a study on the prevalence and correlates of smoking among psychiatric patients. Physical activity levels and sedentary behaviour were measured using the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) and analysed based on GPAQ guidelines. Chi-square analyses were conducted to examine differences in physical activity by smoking status, and logistic regression analyses to yield sociodemographic correlates of meeting physical activity guidelines (as recommended by the World Health Organization) and sedentary behaviour. Results Education was found to be significantly associated with meeting recommended physical activity levels, while age and marital status were significantly associated with excessive sedentary behaviour. Additionally, while no significant differences were found among current, former and non-smokers across all types of physical activity engagement levels, there was a high prevalence of inadequate physical activity (43.2%) and excessive sedentary behaviour (38.8%) among participants. Conclusion Given the high prevalence of inadequate physical activity and excessive sedentary behaviour among current, former and non-smokers with psychiatric disorders, programmes aimed at increasing physical activity and lowering sedentary behaviour levels should be integrated into targeted treatment plans to improve clinical outcomes.

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