Prevalence of Obesity, Prediabetes, and Diabetes in Sexual Minority Women of Diverse Races/Ethnicities: Findings From the 2014-2015 BRFSS Surveys

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to assess the weighted prevalence and odds ratios of obesity, prediabetes, and diabetes by (1) female sexual orientation (lesbian, bisexual, and straight) with racial/ethnic (Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white) groups combined and (2) across and within racial/ethnic groups by sexual orientation.

Methods

A secondary analysis of pooled 2014-2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 28 states (N = 136 878) was conducted. Rao-Scott chi-square test statistics were computed and logistic regression models were developed to assess weighted prevalence and odds ratios of obesity, prediabetes, and diabetes with adjustments for demographics (age, income, and education), depression, and health care access factors.

Results

With racial/ethnic groups combined, lesbian and bisexual women, relative to straight women, had a significantly increased likelihood for obesity when controlling for demographics. Bisexual women were found to have significantly reduced odds for diabetes, compared with straight women, with adjustments for demographics, depression, and health care access factors. Compared with their non-Hispanic white counterparts, Hispanic lesbian women had significantly increased odds for obesity and diabetes, while non-Hispanic black bisexual women had a significantly greater likelihood for obesity, holding demographics, depression, and health care access factors constant. Non-Hispanic white lesbian women had an increased likelihood for obesity relative to their straight, ethnic/racial counterparts. Prediabetes subsample analysis revealed the prevalence was low across all female sexual orientation groups.

Conclusion

Sexual minority women, particularly those of color, may be at increased risk for obesity and diabetes. Research is needed to confirm the findings.

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