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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Nov;18(11):2145-51. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.62. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

The relationship of weight-related attitudes with suicidal behaviors in Korean adolescents.

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Department of Family Medicine, Busan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, South Korea.


The objective of this study was to assess the relationship between weight-related attitudes and suicidal behavior after consideration of depressive mood in Korean adolescents. The study population consisted of a nationally representative sample of 74,698 adolescents (n = 39,466 boys, 35,232 girls) in middle and high school who completed the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBWS) in 2007. Logistic regression models were used to examine the relationships between measures of weight-related and self-reported suicidal behavior, controlling for demographics, depressive mood, stress perception, level of school achievement, and substance use. Suicide attempts were surveyed among those reported to have suicidal ideation (n = 7,579 boys, 10,204 girls). Significantly more girls than boys reported suicidal ideation (29 vs. 19%) and suicide attempts (7.7 vs. 4.5%). Factors significantly associated with suicidal ideation were overestimation of weight (vs. correct estimation) and behaviors to lose or gain weight (vs. no weight control) among boys and overestimation of weight and attempting to lose weight among girls. In contrast, the odds of suicide attempts were significantly higher among boys who tried to lose, gain, or maintain their weight (vs. no weight control) and girls who underestimated their weight (vs. correct estimation) and tried to lose weight (vs. no weight control). Boys and girls classified as overweight or at risk for overweight were significantly less likely to report suicide attempts compared to those classified as underweight. Weight-related attitudes, such as incorrect weight perception and weight control behaviors, seem to be useful indicators for identifying Korean adolescents who are at risk for suicidal behaviors.

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