Low weight tied to increased risk for suicidal behaviour

  • Geulayov G & al.
  • Psychol Med
  • 29 Nov 2018

  • curated by Antara Ghosh
  • UK Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • 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.

Study design

  • 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.

Key results

  • 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).

Limitations

  • All forms of psychiatric morbidity not captured.

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