Obesity and Suicide in Men

by Diane Lofshult on Jul 01, 2007

Talk about weird science! Here’s a finding out of left field: Overweight and obese men actually have a lower risk of suicide than their leaner counterparts! The reason this is especially surprising is that the link between high BMI and depressive thoughts that lead to suicide has been well established in the scientific literature.

In the March 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers reported the results of a prospective cohort study of men who are part of the ongoing Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. In studying the number of suicides in this population sample, the researchers found a strong inverse correlation between risk of suicide and BMI. Interestingly, height and physical activity were not strongly associated with the risk of suicide among the men.

Faced with these counterintuitive results, the researchers were quick to add a caveat advising that “obesity cannot be recommended,” on the basis of its detrimental effects. However, they noted that “further research into the mechanisms of lower risk among overweight and obese men may provide insights into effective methods of suicide prevention.”

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About the Author

Diane Lofshult

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach, California. Reach her at lofshult@roadrunner.com.