Lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning (LGBQ) youth are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, be obese and engage in less physical activity and more sedentary activities than heterosexual youth, a new Northwestern Medicine study has found.
The study is among the first of its kind to examine how health behaviors linked to minority stress – the day-to-day stress faced by stigmatized and marginalized populations – may contribute to the risk of poor physical health among LGBQ youth.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning youth may not only be at risk for worse mental health but also worse physical health outcomes compared to heterosexual youth,” said lead study author Dr. Lauren Beach, a postdoctoral research fellow at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing.
This is the largest study to date to report differences in levels of physical activity, sedentary behavior and obesity by sex and sexual orientation among high-school-aged students. The authors used national data from 350,673 United States high-school students, predominantly ranging between 14 and 18 years old, collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to detect disparities in diabetes risk factors by sexual orientation.
The study has just been published in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.