Author(s): Yancey AK, Cochran SD, Corliss HL, Mays VM
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Recent studies find lesbians at greater risk for overweight and obesity than heterosexual women. While this may reflect differences in attitudes concerning weight and body shape, little is actually known about risk factors within this group. This study examines correlates of obesity and exercise frequency among lesbians and bisexual women. METHODS: Data from a snowball sample (n = 1209) of lesbians/bisexual women living in Los Angeles Country were utilized. Overweight was defined as BMI >/= 25 kg/m(2); obesity as BMI >/= 30. Associations between sociodemographic characteristics, exercise frequency, health indicators, and weight-related measures were evaluated to identify independent predictors of BMI and exercise frequency. RESULTS: Prevalence of overweight and obesity among lesbians varied by racial/ethnic background. Higher BMI was associated with older age, poorer health status, lower educational attainment, relationship cohabitation, and lower exercise frequency. Higher BMI, perceptions of being overweight, and reporting a limiting health condition were identified as independent predictors of infrequent exercise. Women were generally quite accurate in self-perceptions of weight status. CONCLUSIONS: Correlates of overweight and obesity among lesbians and bisexual women are generally comparable to those observed in studies of heterosexual women. Evidence that lesbians' higher BMI is associated with higher levels of fitness is not supported.
This article was published in Prev Med
and referenced in Epidemiology: Open Access