Sexual orientation differences in asthma correlates in a population-based sample of adults

Policy Brief: Continuous Financing Helps Advance Contraceptive Security in Burkina FasoMost research on the health of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations has focused on HIV & AIDS, sexual health, and substance use. Recent studies, however, have documented elevated rates of chronic disease risk factors among LGB people relative to heterosexuals. In particular, LGB populations may be at increased risk for asthma.

This is the first population-based study to explore correlates of asthma in a large sample of LGB adults and to compare them with correlates for heterosexuals. This study assesses how education, urbanicity, weight status, smoking, access to primary care, anxiety, and depression may correlate with asthma diagnoses in the LGB population. The study identified two correlates of history of an asthma diagnosis among LGB individuals: current or former cigarette smoking and obesity. These correlates were also observed among heterosexuals, in addition to underweight, overweight, and current symptoms of depression.

With increasing data on risk factors and disease prevalence among LGB individuals, disparities in chronic diseases are emerging as significant areas for further research. Identifying differences in risk factors between LGB individuals and their heterosexual counterparts can help public health practitioners develop effective interventions to reduce or prevent development of chronic diseases such as asthma in the LGB population. American Journal of Public Health, Oct. 2011., Stewart J. Landers, Matthew J. Mimiaga, and Kerith J. Conron.

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