Why are nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women, while gay men are 50 percent less likely to be obese, compared to their heterosexual counterparts?
Researchers at The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are pumping upwards of $1.5 million into a study to find out the answer.
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NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have awarded more than $1.5 million to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Mass. to study the biological and social factors associated with sexual orientation and obesity
, CNS News reported.
"Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the U.S. today," the grant's description says. "Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention. [H]owever, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities."
The grant description claims that there is a disparity between men and women of different sexual orientations.
"It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males," it says.
S. Bryn Austin, director of Fellowship Research Training at Boston Children’s Hospital, is leading the study.
The study could take as long as five years. It started in 2011 and has an end date of June 30, 2016. It received $778,622 for the first year and $741,378 in 2012, totaling $1,520,000, CNS News reported.
The sequester could affect future funding, however.
"The NIH is currently assessing the impact on funding due to sequestration," said Robert Bock, press officer for the NICHD. "It is not possible to say how this (or any other NIH grant) will be affected in the long term beyond the 90 percent funding levels already in place."
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