NIH Study Explores The Reason Why Three-Fourths Of Lesbians Are Overweight or Obese

RainbowFlag220px-NIH_Master_Logo_Vertical_2ColorAs an academic, I am often cautious about stories criticizing scientific studies due to some esoteric or humorous subject matter. However, I must confess that I am perplexed by the scientific basis or value of a U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) study to understand why lesbians are supposedly fat. The government has spent over $3.5 million thus far on the study, “Sexual Orientation and Obesity: A Test of a Gendered Biopsychosocial Model.” [Some reports however put the original grant at $1.5 million] The study seeks to determine why there is a disparity in the obesity rates between straight women and lesbian women and straight men and gay men.

This is a quote from the study:

“It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.”

The study is based on the belief that the weight difference of lesbians produces “disparities . . . of high public-health significance.”

The grant was awarded to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to study the relationship between sexual orientation and obesity. The project is overseen by S. Bryn Austin.

I do not see how it is “well-established” that three-fourths of lesbians are overweight or obese. Where does that figure come from? I was surprised to read that such a figure exists, let alone that it is sufficiently reliable to justify a scientific study. While I am not questioning the authority researchers and their work, I am simply surprised as an academic because I would have viewed that figure as anecdotal at best.

The description linked below states that “there is almost no prospective, analytic epidemiologic research into the causes of these disparities.” However, that may be due to the fact that the causes are diffuse and a mix of social, personal, and economic conditions — assuming that the statistic is valid.

Here is the NIH study description.

32 thoughts on “NIH Study Explores The Reason Why Three-Fourths Of Lesbians Are Overweight or Obese”

  1. BFM, LOL! My bride knows I’m faithful, even when in San Diego w/ thong bikini clad young women walking the beach. Thongs were BIG last winter on the west coast. I imagine that fashion trend will hit the Midwest in a decade or so.

  2. @Nick Spinelli: ” You need a re-education camp and they are in my hometown of Madison, the SF for lesbians.”

    With so many fewer women to vie for your attention I bet Ms Spinelli loves Madison: ‘Oh, Nick! Why don’t we vacation in Madison? You know how much we enjoyed it last year!’

  3. You are what you eat.

    Maybe they will figure out why gay male’s lifepan is 20 years shorter than average.

  4. According to the producers, many of the lesbians and bi-sexuals on Orange is the New Black are actually playing their gender.

  5. You would think that the NIH would’ve spent at least some of that 3.5 million to study why it is that those fat, tatted-up lesbians still sport mullets and like to shop at Home Depot. Maybe the smell of lumber and obesity have some link?

  6. My opinion is that this shenanigan began for either of two reasons: An all-lesbian team of researchers wanted a sexier pool of prey; or, the national conversion therapy association gave a huge donation in exchange for an intended outcome.

  7. But all the lesbians in the movies I’ve seen are great looking! Oh, you mean they’re just actresses. Damn.

    In real life I could have given them this anecdotal observation for a mere $500,000. It does appear that way. Why? Not sure, but why does it matter? But, If one is to accept some [biological] reason lesbians are more apt to be overweight might it not be in line with the genetic predisposition school of thought?

  8. It may be that we should scrap all research that isn’t related to taking control of the world’s petroleum so that we can keep it in the ground to delay the end of life on earth.

  9. BFM, You obviously hate lesbians. You need a re-education camp and they are in my hometown of Madison, the SF for lesbians.

  10. ” It will be impossible to develop evidence-based preventive interventions unless we first answer basic questions about causal pathways, as we plan to do. ”

    Ummm …. too much food, not enough exercise?

    OK, OK, that’s insensitive.

  11. JT, One of your mentors, the GREAT William Proxmire, is smiling @ your Golden Fleece post this morning. The irony w/ this is, gay men are OBSESSED w/ being thin. And, w/ gay men dominating the fashion industry, that unhealthy obsession has killed many young women, trying to fit that perverted body image.

  12. Since when should government spending have to make sense? We spend billions on the existence of the progressive, administrative state and then have stories like this; it doesn’t take an ‘academic” to question the logic. How about funding a study that looks at how an obese government likes to spend money it doesn’t have?

  13. “Why does it matter?

    Tom, don’t be a h8r, lesbian lives matter more than others because they are in a Special Class and as such Better Than You.

    Plus, as I noted, their fatness comes from oppression by white heterosexual Christian males, whereas Bubba just eats too much.

    That makes lesbian avoirdupois the Most Important Health Crisis of Our Time since the Last One, Maybe Ever.

  14. I don’t pretend to understand how grant decisions are made. But, really, who cares if lesbians are overweight. Why does it matter? Seems a poor use of taxpayer funds

  15. Easy peasy:
    There are collective victims and collective oppressors.

    The study is needed to prove that the patriarchy makes lesbians fat,and makes bigoted MDs ignore their collectively unique plight (i.e., they’re not just fat, they’re fat lesbians, existing on a much higher plane than Bubba in overalls).

    Solution: Smash the patriarchy. Hire more lesbians in health care.
    Granted, that won’t affect their weight much, but that’s not the point of such studies.

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