We’re sure this new study is gong to raise a few eyebrows. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding a study to find out why a majority of homosexual women are overweight, reports The Washington Times. The group is spending $1.5 million in order to determine why nearly three-quarters of adult gay women are overweight or obese, compared to half of straight women.
The study will examine biological and social factors and will be conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The two grants were administered by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to study the relationship between sexual orientation and obesity.
While this study has been planned according to the NICHD, its future is uncertain because of the sequester.
“The NIH is currently assessing the impact on funding due to sequestration,” said Robert Bock, press officer for the NICHD. ”It is not possible to say how this (or any other NIH grant) will be affected in the long term beyond the 90 percent funding levels already in place.”
But according to Bock, the issue is an important one. “Obesity is a serious public health problem affecting a large proportion of the U.S. population,” Bock said. ”The study is examining reasons why the risk of obesity varies according to sexual orientation, in order to inform the development of future strategies to prevent obesity.”
The outcome of the study may shed light on obesity trends in general—even in the minority community. “Our study has high potential for public health impact not only for sexual minorities, Bock continued, but also for straight men and gay women “as we seek to uncover how processes of gender socialization may exacerbate obesity risk.”