OBJECTIVES: Patients with mental illness are at risk for weight gain. Evidence-based risk assessment checklists have the potential to identify patients at risk early in treatment and improve patient outcomes.
METHODS: The 16-item Weight Gain Risk Factor (WGRF-16) checklist has been developed as a simple brief assessment of key weight gain risk factors during antipsychotic treatment. It consists of factors that were collected on the basis of published research on predictors to be assessed at initiation of, and early in treatment with antipsychotics.
RESULTS: The factors in the WGRF-16 checklist included age, sex, body mass index, race, appetite, energy intake, a diagnosis of undifferentiated schizophrenia, early clinical response, comorbiditites, social activity, patient insight, housing conditions, weight satisfaction, eating habits, and physical activity level. The WGRF-16 is designed to be repeated 2-3 weeks after initiation of treatment to help to predict an individual's risk of clinically significant weight gain (>7%) during long-term treatment. Further research is required to assess the predictive validity of the checklist.
CONCLUSIONS: The WGRF-16 checklist is not intended to replace other required monitoring of patients with severe mental disorders but is a facilitator of weight monitoring in conjunction with clinical guidelines.