Association Between Suicide and Body Mass Index among Subjects with Mental Illness
D. M. WALSH; J. DURR; S. RECER; J. DARLING; K. HUH; P. MONROW; N. POLLARD; E. ZIEGLER; K. BURKE; R. STEIN; M. VAWTER; R. MEYERS; E. JONES; S. WATSON; H. AKIL; W. E. BUNNEY; JR.
Society for Neuroscience. 2006.
Introduction: Recent studies show weight irregularities, in the form of lower body mass index (BMI), among men who suicide relative to men who do not suicide in the general population (Magnusson et al, 2005). Lower BMI was also found among men who attempted suicide (Carpenter et al, 2000; Dong et al, 2005). These weight irregularities are hypothesized to be associated with low serum cholesterol levels, which may lead to reduced brain serotonin and an increase the risk of suicide (Magnusson et al, 2005). Another possible explanation is that decreased BMI is a reflection of the weight loss often associated with mood disorders (APA, 2000). The present study examined the relevance of body mass between suicides and non-suicides specifically among male subjects with mental illness. Methods: All subjects received a forensic medical examination in order to determine cause of death. Height and weight were systematically measured and recorded as part of this examination. Psychiatric diagnoses were derived by psychological autopsy using procedures validated by Kelly and Mann (1996). The final sample (n = 120) consisted of 60 suicides and 60 non-suicides. Subjects were divided into one of four diagnostic categories based on the psychological autopsy. Results: A two-way analysis of variance was used to evaluate the effects of manner of death (suicide vs. non-suicide) and diagnosis on BMI. A main effect was detected for manner of death (F (1,112) = 5.47, p = 0.021); there was no main effect for diagnosis (F (3, 112) = 0.67, p = 0.57) and no interaction (F (3, 112) = 0.75, p = 0.52). Logistic regression indicated BMI, age, history of suicide attempts, and history of suicidal ideations correctly classified manner of death in 81.7% of cases (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Consistent with previous studies (Magnusson et al, 2005; Dong et al, 2005 Carpenter et al, 2000), male subjects who suicide exhibited a significantly lower BMI than male subjects who did not suicide. Results indicated BMI may be a predictive indicator of suicide amo ng males with mental illness.