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Mental illness is a common and costly public health problem. One-quarter of the population experience one or more of the broad range of mental health disorders throughout their lifetime. Mental illness costs an estimated £22.5 billion per year in the UK alone.1
People with serious mental illness face a ‘scandal of premature mortality’.2 Life expectancy is up to 15 years less for people with serious mental illness than for the rest of the population. This important and widening mortality gap is more due to cardiovascular disease than suicide, which is often incorrectly assumed to be the only driver of increased mortality in the mentally ill. People with mental illness have high rates of obesity and lifestyle-related diseases3 and smoking rates three times that of the general population.
The common conceptualisation of physical activity interventions as diversional, social or subtherapeutic strategies for people living with mental illness must be therefore reconsidered. Universal inclusion of …