The CDC has released its first concrete sampling of the health challenges that face groups of differing sexual orientation. Titled Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013, the paper looked at the groups on a national scale.

Over 34,000 participants took part in the survey, and the age range was 18 and 64. Researchers saw a lack of studies on sociodemographics and health and wanted to start closing the research hole. A multitude of studies already exist that cover race, sex, class and ethnicity.

The team wanted to have a closer look at health behaviors and use of healthcare facilities and how they matched up with sexual orientation. First, an overview of the sample size. Over 96 percent of those that were on the study identified as being heterosexual. 1.6 percent identified as gay or lesbian. 0.7 self-identified as bisexual. Just over one percent refused to give an answer based on the choices at hand.

Health Comparisons

Researchers in the study found that 35 percent of gay and lesbian people consumed five or more drinks in one day. This compared to 25 percent in heterosexuals and 42 percent in bisexuals.

Smoking rates were also higher among the LGBT community in this study. Another troubling sign is the self-reported ‘serious psychological distress’ among bisexuals. 11 percent reported the issue in the survey.

Obesity rates were all over the map in regards to sexual orientation. The higher percentage for males belonged to heterosexuals, coming in at 30.7 percent. Gay men had an obesity rate of 23.2 percent. Bisexual women had a higher rate of obesity when compared to heterosexual women. The rates were 40.4 percent and 28.8 percent respectively.

Access to Healthcare

Probably the biggest takeaway in the study is in regards to women. Bisexuals and lesbians often had inferior access to healthcare facilities than straight women. Researchers are pushing for more studies to look at this possible pattern.

So, while there was some disparity in health issues, Brian Ward, the lead author, said there was no definitive pattern.


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