Overweight and obese men are less likely to commit suicide than leaner men, says a 16-year US study that followed more than 45 000 male health professionals.
During the study period, 131 of the men committed suicide. The researchers found an association between increased body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) and decreased suicide rates. This held true even after the researchers factored in variables such as alcohol use, smoking, physical activity, marital status and diet, The New York Times reported.
Men in the highest fifth of BMI were almost 60 percent less likely to commit suicide than those in the lowest fifth, said the study, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study authors suggested that the BMI/suicide link may be due to circulating levels of insulin, which may affect mood.
"It's a surprisingly strong relationship," lead author Kenneth J. Mukamal, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told the Times. "But even though we see that heavier men are less likely to commit suicide, there are plenty of other studies that link obesity to poor health. Gaining weight is not the best way to improve anyone's mental health. I hope these findings will provide insight into new strategies to prevent suicide." – (HealthDayNews)
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