What is it about?

Nutrition and Exercise for Wellness and Recovery (NEW-R) is an 8-week program that gives people knowledge and skills for healthier eating and increased physical activity. Through nutritious meal planning, reduced portion sizes, and daily exercise, NEW-R helps participants lose weight in a supportive and enjoyable environment. The program was designed to be easy to implement in community based mental health programs. The study found that people with psychiatric disabilities who participated in NEW-R ate healthier diets, worked towards wellness goals, and felt more competent to follow a healthy lifestyle. Participants at the community mental health centers that provided supportive services also lost weight.

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Why is it important?

People with psychiatric disabilities can profit from a short-term weight loss program and may receive additional benefits if the place where they receive services provides additional wellness programming. Even small weight reductions can improve physical health and also enhance participants’ well-being and sense of control over maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


It was encouraging to find positive outcomes in the study results, but even more gratifying was the comments that participants made about the experience. Things people liked best about the program were getting support from peers, hearing other people’s success stories, learning ways to be physically active in addition to exercise, and getting tips and recipes for healthier ways to cook their favorite foods. One participant said, "I liked the program and I hope it continues. I have a better outlook on healthy eating and being physical. I liked that there was no judgement. I was worried people would look down on me, but I liked meeting other people dealing with the same problems. It helped me. I hope it helps others."

Catana Brown
Midwestern University - Glendale

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Nutrition and Exercise for Wellness and Recovery: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Community-Based Health Intervention, Psychiatric Services, May 2023, American Psychiatric Association, DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.202200038.
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