Overweight and obesity among sexual minority adults in the United States

Sunday Azagba, Lingpeng Shan, Keely Latham

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31 Scopus citations


There is evidence that sexual minority populations have a potentially heightened risk of poor health outcomes due in part to the discrimination they may face. In the present study, we examined whether overweightness and obesity vary by sexual minority subgroup using a large, nationally representative sample. Data were drawn from 2014-2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys (n = 716,609). We grouped participants according to sexual identity (straight, lesbian or gay, bisexual, and other/don’t know/not sure). The propensity score matching technique was used to address covariate imbalance among sexual identity groups. In addition, subgroup analyses were performed for both males and females. Compared to straight adults, lesbian females had significantly higher odds of being overweight (OR (odds ratio) 1.33; 95% CI (confidence interval) 1.17-1.53), whereas gay males had significantly lower odds (OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.59-0.73). Similarly, lesbians were more likely to be obese (OR 1.49; 95% CI 1.31-1.70), whereas gay men had significantly lower odds of obesity (OR 0.77; 95% CI 0.69-0.86) when compared to straight adults. Bisexual females had significantly higher odds of being overweight (OR 1.21; 95% CI 1.10-1.34) and obese (OR 1.43; 95% CI 1.29-1.59), whereas bisexual males showed no significant difference. Our results strengthen previous findings and further highlight the need for research by sexual minority subgroup.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1828
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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