Exploring metabolic factors and health behaviors in relation to suicide attempts: A case-control study
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BACKGROUND: Suicide attempts are a serious public health concern with devastating global impact, thereby necessitating the development of an adequate prevention strategy. Few known risk factors of suicide attempts are directly modifiable. This study sought to investigate potential associations between health behaviors and suicide attempts, identifying novel opportunities for clinicians to help prevent suicidal behavior. METHODS: A case-control study was conducted to compare body weight, serum total cholesterol, physical activity, tobacco use, and dietary food groups among adults who had made a suicide attempt (n = 84) to psychiatric inpatients (n = 104) and community controls (n = 93) without history of suicide attempt. Multivariable binary logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the association between metabolic risk factors and attempted suicide. RESULTS: Psychiatric inpatients who had attempted suicide were less likely to be physically active [moderate/strenuous (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.19-0.95) and mild (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.16-0.76)] compared to controls. Psychiatric inpatients who attempted suicide were more likely to use tobacco (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.07-4.73) compared to controls. Contrary to prior research, obesity, serum total cholesterol, and diet were not significantly associated with risk of attempted suicide. LIMITATIONS: Our study was limited by its cross-sectional design, which precludes the identification of causal or temporal relationships between the risk of attempted suicide and factors such as physical activity and tobacco use. CONCLUSIONS: Study results suggest that a history of attempted suicide is associated with a decreased likelihood of being physically active and an increased risk of tobacco use. Further investigation is warranted to understand the role of exercise and tobacco use in suicide intervention and prevention strategies.
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