Type 2 diabetes: Sexual orientation may influence risk

A large-scale, 24-year-long study focuses on the incidence of type 2 diabetes among lesbian and bisexual women. It found that they are almost a third more likely to develop it.
women hugging with rainbow flag painted on hand

Lesbian and bisexual women may be up to a third more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, suggests a new study.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that more than 30 million people in the United States live with type 2 diabetes.

Many of the risk factors for diabetes are lifestyle habits that can be changed. Being physically active, eating right, and trying to maintain a healthy weight can all lower the risk.

Some other factors, such as ethnicity or genes, are hard to change, but being aware that you may be at risk is still useful for preventing the metabolic disease.

For instance, African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Asian Americans are known to be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

People who have relatives with diabetes or a family history are also predisposed to the condition, as are people who have heart disease or have had a stroke.

New research suggests that sexual orientation might also be a risk factor worth adding to the list.

The new study — which was led by Heather L. Corliss, a professor at San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health in California — suggests that women who identify as lesbian or bisexual are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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