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Physical activity interventions: an essential component in recovery from mental illness
  1. Simon Rosenbaum1,2,3,
  2. Anne Tiedemann3,
  3. Philip B Ward1,4,
  4. Jackie Curtis1,2,
  5. Catherine Sherrington3
  1. 1School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Early Psychosis Programme, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4Schizophrenia Research Unit, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simon Rosenbaum, Early Psychosis Programme, The Bondi Centre, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, 26 Llandaff St Bondi Junction, Sydney, NSW 2022, Australia; s.rosenbaum{at}

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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 …

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  • Contributors SR drafted the manuscript with input from all authors. All authors reviewed and provided comments on the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.