Thursday, October 22, 2009

Obesity and suicide

Dr Kenneth J. Mukamal of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston has been comparing rates of obesity and suicide across U.S. states. On average about a quarter of adults were classified as obese and there were 12 suicides per 100,000 people. However, for each 3% increase in obesity in any given state there were 3 fewer suicides per 100,000 people. The states with higher levels of obesity also had higher levels of gun ownership and smoking and lower rates of college education and household income but even after all these factors were taken into account the link between obesity and lower suicide rates remained. Obesity was linked to lower rates of suicide by suffocation and poisoning and Dr Mukamal pointed out that it takes more poison to kill a fat person and that it is less easy for fat people to hang themselves. He also said that the health risks of obesity were much greater than the benefits of the reduced suicide rates.

You can find out more about this research at

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