The secret food diary of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia

S. Hardy, R. Gray

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    The objective was to consider the feasibility of food diaries as a method of understanding the dietary behaviour of people with schizophrenia. Examination of the food diaries completed in 1 week by eight patients with schizophrenia. All the patients were successful in completing the task. Examination of the food diaries revealed that: eating fruit and vegetables was largely absent; there was very little variety in most of the patients' diets; patients relied heavily on convenience food and ready meals for their main meal; as a rule patients followed an ordered mealtime routine; generally patients did not drink enough fluid; they were not big treat eaters; only one patient recorded drinking any alcohol; overall there appeared to be poor diet literacy in our small sample. The results show that on the whole, people with schizophrenia have a poor diet. This could be due to a combination of financial difficulty, lack of skills in food preparation, lack of motivation to prepare food or ignorance of what constitutes a healthy diet. The fact that they all managed to complete the task is perhaps evidence of motivation to improve their health and demonstrates the utility of food diaries in educating this population.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)603-609
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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