Background:: Past studies have demonstrated that body mass index (BMI) is inversely associated with the risk of suicide death. However, to our knowledge, no study has investigated the association between long-term weight change and the risk of suicide death. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between weight change from the age of 20 years to middle or older age and the risk of suicide death in a population-based cohort. Methods: We analyzed follow-up data for 41,746 participants aged ≥40 years and calculated percent weight change from age 20 years to that at the survey baseline (mean age: 61.2 years). A Cox model was used to estimate the multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for suicide death. Results: The mean duration of follow up was 6.9 years, and suicide death was documented for 80 persons. Weight loss >5% (WL) was associated with a significantly higher risk of suicide death, with a multivariate-adjusted HR of 1.92 (95% confidence interval: 1.02–3.63). On the other hand, weight gain tended to be associated with a lower risk of suicide death. The significantly higher risk of suicide death observed among those showing WL did not change after excluding participants with a history of disease or psychological distress. Limitations: No information was given regarding the reasons for weight change and suicide death. Conclusions: The present results suggest that physicians should pay attention to individuals who lose weight from early adulthood because they could be at increased risk for suicide.
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