Can there actually be a positive associated with obesity? While there are countless obesity-related health concerns, there just may be one positive – you are less likely to successfully commit suicide.
According to a new study at Harvard School of Public Health, there were about 12 suicides per 100,000 adults in 2004 and 2005. However, with every three percent increase in obesity in any given state, there were three fewer suicides per 100,000 adults. This even took into account the fact that states with higher rates of obesity also had higher rates of gun ownership, adults who smoke, and lower rates of household income.
The study did not prove a cause and effect, but the author did emphasize an obvious point:
“The risks of obesity far outweigh any potential benefit on suicide prevention,” says study author Dr. Kenneth J. Mukamal.
The key word is “successfully.” It doesn’t mean heavy people are happier.
The study’s authors think that poisonings may be less likely to be lethal in an obese person, since they would need a higher dose. They went on to morbidly speculate that in the case of an attempted hanging, suffocation may be less common because “the steps involved in hanging may be burdensome (and) uncomfortable” in an obese person.
One last downer of a statistic and I’ll let you get on with your day: More people in the United States die from suicide than homicide.
October 18th, 2009