Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Health Care Administration

First Advisor

Professor Andrew James


Childhood obesity has more than doubled over the past three decades with currently over nine million youths over six years of age considered obese (Institute of Medicine, 2005). Children with schizophrenia have a greater risk of obesity because of their dependency on antipsychotic drugs which help in managing various schizophrenic symptoms including hallucinations, delusion, and distorted speech. A serious side-effect of second-generation or "atypical" antipsychotic drugs (such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Geodon) in pediatric schizophrenic patients is severe weight gain. Pediatric patients have a significantly higher risk of becoming obese with prolonged use of these agents. As more children are being prescribed with antipsychotic medications for the treatment of schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders (over 2 million children in the U.S.), there is a great chance that the future health of these children is being jeopardized. Although there might be limited treatment options for schizophrenic patients, some researchers contend that other treatment options should be considered. This paper investigates the correlation between atypical antipsychotic drugs and weight gain in children with schizophrenia and recommends viable treatment alternatives (pharmacological and nonpharmacological methods) if available. It is hypothesized that children with schizophrenia that depend on 1 2 atypical antipsychotic medications will have a higher risk of obesity (and obesity related illnesses) than children who do not depend on atypical medications. For the quantitative part of the study, data was retrieved from national and international studies done on the topic. . Available literature on obesity, schizophrenia in children, and antipsychotic medications were reviewed using MEDLINE, Pub Med, psych INFO, and EBSCOhost and other electronic databases from 1994 to 2011. For the qualitative part of the study, healthcare professionals were consulted for this study. The findings of this study showed an increased number of children becoming obese as a result of using atypical (second generation) antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia which further exposes this population to obesity related illnesses (e.g. type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease).