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LGB adults thinner than heterosexuals; but more likely to drink too much alcohol, smoke, have worse mental health

LGB people are less likely to be overweight than their heterosexual peers. But the study similarly found that LGB people are more likely to suffer from poor health in many key areas.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels.com

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people are less likely to be overweight than their heterosexual peers, according to a study done in the UK. But before celebrating, the study similarly found that LGB people are more likely to suffer from poor health in many key areas.

These findings come from the 2011–2018 iterations of the Health Survey for England, which is conducted annually by the National Centre for Social Research and UCL. Here, experts interviewed and assessed the health of 58,226 adults aged 16 and over; 2% of them (or 1,132 people) reported identifying as LGB.

The study found that only 51% of adult LGB population is overweight or obese, compared to 63% of heterosexuals.

However, as if contradicting this, the study similarly found that:

  • 7% of LGB adults were more likely to report experiencing ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health than heterosexuals (6%).
  • 26% of them were more likely to suffer from a limiting longstanding illness than the heterosexuals (at 22%).
  • Heterosexuals were found to typically enjoy a higher level of mental wellbeing, scoring an average of 51.4 on the Warwick-Edinburgh Scale; in contrast, LGB adults received an average of only 48.9. LGB women scored lowest with an an average of 47.3.
  • Nearly a third of LGB people tend to drink to excess, compared with just under a quarter of heterosexual adults.
  • 16% of LGB adults reported living with a longstanding mental, behavioral or neurodevelopmental disorder, compared to just 6% of heterosexuals.
  • 27% of LGB adults were more likely to be smokers than their heterosexual peers (18%). The highest proportion of adult smokers was seen among LGB women (31%), and the lowest among straight women (16%).
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