Association between physical multimorbidity and suicidal ideation in young adults with obesity


Background Through obesity, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors (such as sedentarism, poor diet, excessive tobacco and alcohol consumption) affect mental health and ultimately increase suicide risk. As a matter of fact, obesity is considered as an entrance point of multimorbidity (co-occurrence of two comorbidities or more) given its impact on physical and mental health. Regardless of proven individual links between obesity, multimorbidity and suicide-related risk, their effect on suicidal ideation was minimally investigated. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to explore the co-occurrence effect of physical multimorbidity and obesity on suicidal ideation. Methods Cross-sectional study on a sample of young adults with obesity in Quebec, extracted from the 2005 and 2015-2016 Canadian Community Health Survey. Health behaviors (tobacco consumption and physical activity) were assessed. Multimorbidity and obesity were objectively measured. Suicidal ideation was self-reported based on personal experiences with death thoughts during the previous year. Results Between the 2 cycles, a slight difference in physical multimorbidity prevalence was observed. Adjusted logistic regressions demonstrated replicated links between multimorbidity and suicidal ideation. Moreover, no consistent impact of health behaviors or covariates (sex, age and education) on suicidal ideation was found. Conclusion Multimorbidity appears to be associated with suicidal ideation amongst those with obesity. Multimorbidity management should therefore be highlighted within obesity-related interventions for young people, in hopes of preventing suicidal thoughts.