Starting in 2013, the federal National Health Interview Survey will include questions about sexual orientation. The national survey on the health of the American public by the Department of Health and Human Services queries 40,000 households annually, gathering information on 100,000 people, The Washington Post reports
The survey, which also asks questions about health insurance coverage, smoking, and vaccinations among others, will eventually include questions about gender identity. “We are taking critical steps toward ensuring the collection of useful national data on minority groups, including for the first time, LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] populations,” Kathleen Sebelius
, the Health and Human Services secretary, said according to the Post.
Questions about sexual orientation and behavior are currently included in two much smaller government surveys. Sherry Glied, assistant Health and Human Services secretary for planning and evaluation, told the Post that neither of those two surveys is large enough to provide data that can be generalized to the country as a whole.
Before adding the questions, HHS will meet with experts to determine what should be asked and what detail sought. The questions will also be field-tested. In another development, HHS said it will now begin using a larger number of ethnic categories in its surveys to get a better understanding of Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander populations the Post reported.
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