Being fit at young age is linked with a reduced risk of attempted suicide later in life, says study.
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," Margda Waern, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, said.
The study shows that the increased risk was evident even 42 years after the exam for military service.
The findings are published in the journal Psychological Medicine.