The National Institutes of Health, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has spent more than $3.5 million to study ‘one of the most critical public health issues affecting the US today’ – why are 75% of lesbians obese?
The project, now entering its fifth year, just received another federal grant worth $658,485, bringing total funding to $3,531,925.
‘Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the US today,’ the grant description reads.
‘Racial and socioeconomic disparities in obesity are receiving increasing attention; however, one area of disparities that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation.
‘Women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women.
‘In addition, heterosexual men have almost double the obesity risk as gay men.’
Funding has more than doubled since the study was first revealed in 2013.
However, the research has not yet yielded any new information on why lesbians have higher obesity rates, except for a paper that noted lesbians tended to have lower ‘athletic self-esteem,’ which could be a factor.
Lesbians on reddit offered their own opinions on the issue.
‘I’d say it’s a cultural difference’ wrote one.
‘I mean, we’re already to a certain degree challenging media depictions and norms of body and sexuality, and some of them, because they target heterosexual women, have less of an influence on how gay and bi women regard themselves. We’re not trying to please men, so there’s room for more resistance to societal expectations about weight.’
Others linked the higher rates obesity among lesbians to lower income.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the US government had spent nearly half a million dollars on a study of gay hook-up apps such as Grindr.