A new study determined teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning have a greater chance of getting Type 2 diabetes or becoming obese.
Researchers of Northwestern University looked at information collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. They collected data from 350,673 high school students in the United States, most of which between 14 and 17 years of age.
“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 and postdoctoral research fellow at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing Lauren Beach.
LGBQ teens were less likely to engage in physical activity, according to the study, reporting one less day of physical activity per week than their heterosexual counterparts.
LBQ teen women are hit with obesity the hardest — they are 1.55 to 2.07 times more likely to be obese compared to heterosexual teen women.
Researchers posit that obesity and lessened physical activity are more likely because of stress.
“Many of these youth might be taking part in sedentary activities – like playing video games – to escape the daily stress tied to being lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning,” Beach said. “Our findings show that minority stress actually has a very broad-ranging and physical impact.”