Feds spend $1.5m to study lesbian obesity

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending $1.5 million to study the “high public-health significance” of why 75 percent of lesbian women are obese and gay men are not, CNS News reports.

“Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the U.S. today,” the description of the grant — administered by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) — reads. “Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention.”

“[H]owever, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities,” it continues. “It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with it continues.

“In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.”

Brigham and Women’s Hospital first received a $778,622 grant for the study in 2011, followed by a $741,378 grant in 2012, totaling $1,520,000, CNS News reports.

The NICHS says the outcome of the project is uncertain pending federal spending cuts due to the sequestration.

“The NIH is currently assessing the impact on funding due to sequestration,” said NICHD Press Officer Robert Bock. “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.”

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