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Fitness program for mentally ill expands

(USA Today) The average life span for someone with a serious mental illness is 25 years shorter than someone in the general population, a gap that has been largely overlooked even though an estimated 10.4 million American adults … fall into that category, said Dr. Stephen Bartels. He will supervise the [In SHAPE] program funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services…
People with serious mental illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia are more likely to smoke and be obese, putting them at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic disease. And medications used to treat their mental illnesses often cause weight gain or leave them feeling too lethargic to exercise.
Spending money on wellness efforts now will be less costly than expensive treatments for chronic diseases later, Bartels argues…
And there are societal benefits as well, said Ken Jue, who created the In SHAPE program in 2003. Some participants have gone back to work after decades of unemployment. Others have gone back to school.
"As people have become involved in the program and as they begin to improve their physical health, they develop a sense of self-confidence that really frees them up to do some incredible things," said Jue.
Community: We don’t have to be mentally ill to benefit from exercise.
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