Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Teenage physical fitness reduces the risk of suicidal behavior later in life

Date:
June 26, 2013
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Being in good physical shape at 18 years of age can be linked with a reduced risk of attempted suicide later in life. So says a study of over one million Swedish men.

Being in good physical shape at 18 years of age can be linked with a reduced risk of attempted suicide later in life. So says a study of over one million Swedish men conducted by researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

A new, extensive report from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare on child and adolescent health shows that teenagers and young adults in Sweden have worse mental health than their age cohorts in other western countries.

Another report that is part of a new social welfare study shows that the number of serious suicide attempts among 19-23 year olds with activity compensation has increased from 115 per year to 460 per year in Sweden between 1995-2010.

At the same time, the number of suicides in the 10 to 45 age group increased. Even the percentage of young people with no activity compensation who attempted to take their life increased.

In order to break this trend, research has now focused on the factors that can prevent mental illness and the risk of suicidal behavior.

Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, have been able to use a study of 1,136,527 Swedish men to show that there is a link between exercising as a young person and a reduced risk of suicidal behavior later in life.

"Being in poor physical shape at 18 years of age, measured as the test results on an exercise bike during their medical exam for compulsory military service, can be linked to a risk of suicidal behavior as an adult that is 1.8 times greater," says Margda Waern, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

The study shows that the increased risk was evident even 42 years after the exam for military service.

It has previously been shown that physical exercise has a highly positive effect on brain function, e.g. more nerve cells are developed with physical exercise.

"The teenage years are a critical period in terms of brain development since this is when social and emotional faculties are established. Therefore, it was important to do a larger study on the importance of physical fitness in terms of suicidal behavior in this age group," says Maria Åberg, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy who led the study together with Professor Margda Waern.

In the study, which covers all Swedish men born between 1950 and 1987 who completed the previously mandatory exam, researchers compared the results from physical tests during the exam with the national registers of disease and death.

By carefully examining the roughly 340,000 brothers who took part in the study, researchers were able to study how hereditary factors and the home environment affect this relationship.

In a much discussed study published in 2012, the researcher group showed that good physical fitness as a teenager can also be linked to decreased risk of severe depression later in life.

"But even when we exclude individuals who suffer from severe depression in connection with suicide or attempted suicide, the link between poor physical shape and an increased risk of suicidal behavior remains," says Margda Waern.

While depression is a particularly strong predictor of suicidal behavior in later life, the picture among younger people is complex and many factors are involved.

"One theory is that the brain becomes more resistant to different types of stress if you are physically active," says Maria Åberg.

Researchers think that physical exercise should be considered in suicide prevention projects aimed at young people.

The new findings are supported by earlier cross-sectional studies where teenagers are interviewed about their physical fitness connected with the risk for suicidal thoughts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. A. I. Åberg, J. Nyberg, K. Torén, A. Sörberg, H. G. Kuhn, M. Waern. Cardiovascular fitness in early adulthood and future suicidal behaviour in men followed for up to 42 years. Psychological Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1017/S0033291713001207

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Teenage physical fitness reduces the risk of suicidal behavior later in life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626113318.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2013, June 26). Teenage physical fitness reduces the risk of suicidal behavior later in life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626113318.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Teenage physical fitness reduces the risk of suicidal behavior later in life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626113318.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) — As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins