Prevalence of Self-Reported Diabetes by Sexual Orientation: Results from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Lauren Brittany Beach*, Tom A. Elasy, Gilbert Gonzales

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aimed to compare the prevalence of self-reported diabetes and diabetes risk factors among adult sexual minority and heterosexual populations in the United States. Methods: Data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 3776 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults and 142,852 heterosexual adults aged 18 years and older were used to estimate the prevalence of diabetes. Binomial logistic regression models were used to compare the odds of diabetes by sexual orientation. Results: Sexual minorities were younger and more racially diverse than heterosexuals. Gay men less often and lesbian and bisexual women more often reported a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher than heterosexuals. Overall, 14.2% of bisexual men, 11.4% of gay men, and 10.8% of heterosexual men reported a lifetime diabetes diagnosis, as did 8.5% of lesbian women, 5.7% of bisexual women, and 10.2% of heterosexual women. After controlling for multiple factors, gay (odds ratio [OR] = 1.50; confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.09-2.07) and bisexual men [OR = 1.55; 95% CI = 1.00-2.07] were more likely to report a lifetime diabetes diagnosis than heterosexual men. Similar differences were not found for lesbian [OR = 1.22; 95% CI = 0.76-1.95] or bisexual women [OR = 0.88; 95% CI = 0.62-1.26]. Conclusion: Sexual minorities may be at increased risk for diabetes than their heterosexual peers. This may be due partly to the chronic stressors associated with being a member of a marginalized population. Future research should explore the underlying causes and consequences of LGB diabetes disparities and elucidate best practices to improve diabetes screening and care for these vulnerable patient populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-130
Number of pages10
JournalLGBT Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • bisexual
  • diabetes
  • gay
  • health disparities
  • lesbian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Urology
  • Dermatology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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