A recent study has has opined that teenage girls who perceive themselves as being too fat are more prone to suicidal behaviours than those who're actually obese.
In the study by Inas Rashad, an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University, obesity, depressive disorders and suicidal behaviours have been analysed in conjunction with an individual's perception of their weight.
The study, which was accepted for publication in February, will be published in Social Science and Medicine.
"Both obesity and suicide have been highlighted by the Surgeon General as areas of focus for adolescents and areas of great concern," Rashad said.
"We find that the role perception has independently of actual overweight status is an important one, which has implications in terms of any solutions to the obesity epidemic that are put forth," the expert added.
The researchers utilized data from 1999 to 2007 from the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, which indicated that 17 percent of high school students have seriously considered committing suicide.
The data were used to not only investigate whether overweight status or perception are causal factors affecting suicidal thoughts and attempts among high school students, but also to estimate the potential economic costs.
"If being overweight not only imposes the usual health care and labor market costs, but also increases the risk of suicide, we need to take these costs into account when offering solutions," Rashad said.
The study revealed that body dissatisfaction had a strong impact on all suicidal behaviours for girls and was generally insignificant for males.