Body dissatisfaction — independent of actual overweight status — has an impact on suicidal behavior in U.S. girls, researchers said.
The researchers found the perception of being overweight among girls raised the probability of suicidal thoughts by 5.6 percent, the probability of a suicide attempts by 3.2 percent and the probability of injury causing suicide attempts by 0.6 percent. [Link.]
Did you note that it’s the perception of being overweight — “independent of actual overweight status” — they’re talking about here? OK, good. Now check this out.
The researchers found the risk of suicide by adolescent females has the potential to add about $280 million to $350 million to the costs of adolescent obesity, including the direct cost of illnesses and premature mortality.
“If being overweight not only imposes the usual healthcare and labor market costs, but also increases the risk of suicide, we need to take these costs into account when offering solutions,” [study co-author Inas] Rashad said.
It all comes back to the “costs of obesity.” Even when what we’re talking about is girls wanting to kill themselves because they think they’re fat. WTF?
I wish I were less cynical, so I could believe that “tak[ing] these costs into account when offering solutions” might actually mean “making an effort to improve girls’ self-esteem and body image.” (So they don’t try to off themselves and drive up healthcare costs. Ahem.) But since they’re lumping this in with all the usual alleged costs of fatness, I have to assume the logic here is, “This is one more reason to insist that fat girls must become thin! If they don’t, they’ll be suicidal!” Even though the study showed that poor body image independent of weight is what causes the suicidal thoughts, and one reason why so many girls hate their bodies and think they’re too fat even when they’re thin might just be that PEOPLE ARE CONSTANTLY TELLING THEM THAT FAT IS HORRIBLE, UNHEALTHY, AND SHAMEFUL, AND GOOD, RESPONSIBLE, HEALTHY PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE ANY VISIBLE FAT ON THEIR BODIES.