Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sexual Orientation and Health Status, 2013

The federal government is now tracking the health of Americans by sexual orientation. Beginning in 2013, questions about sexual orientation were included in the National Health Interview Survey, allowing government researchers to examine the health status, health behaviors, and health care access of the U.S. population by sexual orientation.

"Which of the following best represents how you think of yourself?" is the question asked by the National Health Interview Survey. Respondents could identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight. Overall, 97.7 percent of Americans identify themselves as straight, including 97.8 percent of men and 97.7 percent of women. There are significant differences by age in the percentage who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual...

Percentage who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual
Total, aged 18-plus: 2.3%
Aged 18 to 44: 2.9%
Aged 45 to 64: 2.2%
Aged 65-plus: 0.8%

Differences in health status by sexual orientation were evident in this first look. Among 18-to-64-year-olds, those who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual are more likely than those who are straight to smoke cigarettes. Bisexual men and women are more likely than their straight counterparts to have experienced serious psychological distress in the past 30 days. Health insurance coverage, prevalence of obesity, physical fitness, and more is in the report.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Sexual Orientation and Health among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013

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