Sexual orientation disparities in heart health: 3 study notes

A recent study found sexual orientation disparities in heart health.

The study, published May 17 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, used health data from about 169,400 adults in France, including nearly 91,000 women. Researchers used the American Heart Association's Life's Essential 8, a tool of lifestyle behaviors and factors for good cardiovascular health, to measure health scores. 

Participants did not have cardiovascular disease and were an average age of 46. Of women participating, 93 percent identified as heterosexual, 3.5 percent as bisexual and 0.61 percent as lesbian. Among men, 90 percent identified as heterosexual, 3.5 percent bisexual and 3 percent gay. About 3 percent of participants declined to answer questions about their sexual orientation. 

Here are three study findings:

  • After adjusting for family history of cardiovascular disease, age and other factors, researchers found lesbian and bisexual women had lower cardiovascular scores than heterosexual women.

  • Gay and bisexual men in urban areas scored higher than heterosexual men, whereas those in rural areas scored lower and were less likely to reach ideal cardiovascular health.

  • Lesbian women scored lower on healthy diet and blood pressure compared to heterosexual peers; however, bisexual women scored higher on healthy diet and nicotine exposure.

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