Gender Minorities Less Engaged in Health-Promoting Behaviors

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Lesbian and bisexual women and transgender adults have lower participation in health-related behaviors than heterosexual men and women.
Lesbian and bisexual women and transgender adults have lower participation in health-related behaviors than heterosexual men and women.

HealthDay News — Lesbian and bisexual women and transgender adults have lower participation in health-related behaviors than heterosexual men and women, according to research published in the Aug. 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Timothy J. Cunningham, Sc.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to estimate five health-related behaviors (never smoking, performing regular physical activity, consuming no or moderate amounts of alcohol, having a normal body weight, and obtaining sufficient sleep daily) among adults (aged ≥21 years) by sexual orientation and transgender status.

The researchers found that lesbian and bisexual women were less likely to engage in all five health-related behaviors, compared to heterosexual women (5.4, 6.9, and 10.6 percent, respectively). Compared with adults whose gender identity corresponds with sex at birth, male-to-female transgender adults were less likely to engage in any two of five health-related behaviors (12.3 versus 18.6 percent); however, male-to-female transgender adults were more likely to engage in any three of five health-related behaviors than female-to-male transgender adults (47.2 versus 28.2 percent). Engagement with health-related behaviors did not differ between gay or bisexual men and heterosexual men.

"Continued efforts are needed to target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations for overall well-being, including strategies for health promotion and engagement in health-related behaviors," the authors write.

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