Overweight Men At Lower Suicide Risk Than Other Men

Suicide rate of men with BMI of 30 or more is lower than that of men with BMI under 21

TUESDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese men have a much lower risk of suicide than men who are leaner, according to a report in the March 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D., of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues studied data on 46,755 cancer-free men collected between 1986 and their death or February 2002, whichever came first. The investigators also looked at the physical and mental health of a subgroup of 1,829 men.

Overall, 131 men committed suicide. The researchers found that the suicide rate fell from 52 per 100,000 person-years in men with a body mass index (BMI) under 21, to 13 per 100,000 in men with a BMI of 30 or more. Greater BMI was linked to lower suicide rate; exercise and height were not. After adjustment, the suicide hazard ratio was 0.89 for each one-unit increase in BMI.

"Among men, risk of death from suicide is strongly inversely related to body mass index, but not to height or to physical activity," the authors write. "Although obesity cannot be recommended on the basis of its detrimental effects, 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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