Food insecurity (hunger) and suicide attempts among 179,771 adolescents attending school from 9 high-income, 31 middle-income, and 4 low-income countries: A cross-sectional study

Koyanagi, Ai and Stubbs, Brendon and Oh, Hans and Veronese, Nicola and Smith, Lee and Haro, Josep M. and Vancampfort, Davy (2019) Food insecurity (hunger) and suicide attempts among 179,771 adolescents attending school from 9 high-income, 31 middle-income, and 4 low-income countries: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 248. pp. 91-98. ISSN 1573-2517

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.01.033

Abstract

Background: Data on food insecurity and suicide attempts in adolescence are scarce. Thus, the aim of the current study was to assess the association between food insecurity (hunger) and suicide attempts in adolescents from 44 countries. Methods: Cross-sectional, school-based data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey were analyzed. Data on past 12-month suicide attempts and past-30 day food insecurity (hunger) were collected. Multivariable logistic regression, meta-analysis, and meta-regression were conducted to assess the associations. Results: The final sample consisted of 179,771 adolescents attending school. The prevalence of moderate (rarely/sometimes hungry) and severe (most of the time/always hungry) food insecurity were 46.7% and 7.0%, respectively. After adjustment for potential confounders, severe food insecurity (vs. no food insecurity, i.e., no hunger) was significantly associated with higher odds for suicide attempts in 31 of the 44 countries studied with the pooled OR (95%CI) being 1.90 (1.77-2.04) (I2=45.2%). The associations were similar across country-income levels. However, meta-regression analysis by country showed that stronger associations were related with lower population prevalence of severe food insecurity. The pooled OR (95%CI) for moderate food insecurity (vs. no food insecurity) was 1.26 (1.21-1.32) (I2=29.7%). Limitations: Causality cannot be established due to the cross-sectional study design. Conclusions: Food insecurity (hunger) is a global problem and is associated with suicide attempts. The identification of children suffering from food insecurity (hunger) and remedying this condition may be important to improve mental health among adolescents worldwide.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: food insecurity, hunger, suicide attempts, adolescents
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology
Depositing User: Lee Smith
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2019 09:24
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2019 11:10
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/704066

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