HOUSTON — While the health disparity of LGBT people has been well documented, bisexual men and women may have the poorest health of all according to a new study from Rice University reported on by MedicalXpress and other outlets.
“A New Piece of the Puzzle: Sexual Orientation, Gender and Physical Health Status” will appear in an upcoming edition of Demography. The study examined the self-rated health of 10,128 LGB adults and 405,145 straight adults to see how it differed.
In addition to recording self-rated health information, the researchers analyzed the participants’ lifestyle according to a number of factors that traditionally impact health, including socio-economic status (including education level, employment status, household income and access to health insurance), health behaviors (smoker or nonsmoker, drinking habits, body mass index and access to health care) and social support and well-being, the MedicalXpress article said.
The study found that 19.5 percent of bisexual men and 18.5 percent of bi women rated their health as “poor or fair,” the highest proportion among the groups surveyed. In contrast, only 11.9 percent of men identifying as gay and 10.6 percent of women identifying as lesbian rated their health as “poor or fair,” the lowest proportion of those surveyed. Health was also rated poor by 14.5 percent of straight men and 15.6 percent of straight women, the article said.
Across the groups surveyed, the researchers also found that bisexual men and women are disproportionately disadvantaged on important social, economic and behavioral factors strongly associated with health and well-being. For example, bisexual men and women were the least likely of the three groups to be college educated, researchers said.
Bisexual men and women were more likely to smoke (23.8 percent and 21.9 percent, respectively), compared with 14.9 percent of gay men, 16.6 percent of lesbian women, 11.1 percent of heterosexual men and 8.3 percent of heterosexual women, according to the study.