Corliss hopes healthcare providers will use this information to recognize that lesbian and bisexual women may be at a greater risk of obesity and obesity-related health conditions. But more important, she hopes the study findings will impact society as a whole.
“It’s less about what any lesbian or bisexual woman should or shouldn’t do from the results of this study,” Corliss says. “It’s more about what we should do as a society to address the social factors that contribute to health disparities in this country.”
Why More Studies on Minority Stress, Sexuality, and Risk of Diabetes Are Needed
Although the results add to a growing body of research specifically regarding sexual orientation, it’s important to point out that the findings might not be representative of all women in the United States. That’s because all of the participants in the study are professional nurses and a majority are non-Hispanic white, which the authors note in their published paper. Therefore, more research with a more nationally representative study group is needed.
The results also cannot be generalized to those who are “economically challenged, which is where we tend to see many impacted by this disease,” says Lisa Sumlin, PhD, an assistant professor at The University of Texas in Austin School of Nursing, who was not involved in the research. Sumlin is referring to people who are low income — a risk factor that is associated with the disease regardless of their race.