- Low weight was associated with a substantially increased risk for suicidal behaviour in women in their 50s and 60s.
- An association was also observed between smaller body size in childhood and early adulthood and increased risk for suicide attempt.
- Risk for suicidal behaviour was somewhat lower in overweight or obese women, and inconsistently related to body weight index (BMI) level.
Why this matters
- Increased risk for suicidal behaviour is expected in individuals with a BMI higher than normal.
- However, evidence from cohort studies suggests higher risks for suicide or attempted suicide in underweight vs healthy weight individuals.
- 1,155,651 women (average age, 56 years), without prior suicide attempts or major illness, recruited to Million Women Study between 1996 and 2001 were evaluated.
- Funding: Million Women Study funded by UK Medical Research Council.
- 4% women had low BMI (2) whereas 36% and 17% were overweight (25–29.9 kg/m2) and obese (⩾30 kg/m2), respectively.
- Women with BMI 2 had a higher risk for attempted suicide (adjusted relative risk [aRR], 1.38; P<.0001 and suicide p>
- Smaller vs larger body size at ages 10 (aRR, 1.20; P<.0001 and p=".002)" years was associated with an increased risk for attempted suicide in middle age.>
- Overweight (aRR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.68-0.98) and obese (aRR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.58-0.95) women had lower RRs for suicide vs women with BMI 20-24.9 kg/m2 (Ptrend=.006).
- All forms of psychiatric morbidity not captured.