Differences in chronic disease behavioral indicators by sexual orientation and sex

Alexandra M. Minnis, Diane Catellier, Charlotte Kent, Kathleen A. Ethier, Robin E. Soler, Wendy Heirendt, Michael T. Halpern, Todd Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Context: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations experience significant health inequities in preventive behaviors and chronic disease compared with non-LGB populations. Objectives: To examine differences in physical activity and diet by sexual orientation and sex subgroups and to assess the influences of home and neighborhood environments on these relationships. Design: A population-based survey conducted in 2013-2014. Setting: A stratified, simple, random sample of households in 20 sites in the United States. Participants: A total of 21 322 adult LGB and straight-identified men and women. Outcome Measures: Any leisure-time physical activity in the past month; physical activity 150 min/wk or more; daily frequency of consumption of vegetables, fruit, water, and sugar-sweetened beverages; and the number of meals prepared away from home in the past 7 days. Results: Physical activity and diet varied by sexual orientation and sex; differences persisted after adjusting for sociodemographic factors and household and community environments. Bisexual men reported a higher odds of engaging in frequent physical activity than straight men (odds ratio [OR] = 3.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.57-6.14), as did bisexual women compared with straight women (OR = 1.84; 95% CI, 1.20-2.80). LGB subgroups reported residing in more favorable walking and cycling environments. In contrast, gay men and lesbian and bisexual women reported a less favorable community eating environment (availability, affordability, and quality of fruit and vegetables) and a lower frequency of having fruit or vegetables in the home. Lesbian women reported lower daily vegetable consumption (1.79 vs 2.00 mean times per day; difference=0.21; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.38), and gay men reported consumption of more meals prepared away from home (3.17 vs 2.63; difference = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.11-0.95) than straight women and men, respectively. Gay men and lesbian and bisexual women reported a higher odds of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption than straight men and women. Conclusions: Findings highlight opportunities for targeted approaches to promote physical activity and mitigate differences in diet to reduce health inequities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S25-S32
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Diet
  • Health Inequities
  • Physical Activity
  • Sexual Orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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