The National Institute of Health (NIH) has now spent over $3.5 MILLION of taxpayer money to determine why the majority of lesbians are obese. The project, now entering its fifth year, received another taxpayer grant worth $658,485 this summer. The total funding for the research is now $3,531,925. Funding has more than doubled since the study was first revealed in 2013.
Since the study is examining why three-quarters of lesbians are obese, but gay men are not, it has survived sequester cuts, and continues to produce results such as the discovery that gay men have a “greater desire for toned muscles” than straight men.
Another scientific paper associated with the research concluded that lesbians have lower “athletic-self esteem” that may lead to higher rates of obesity.
A paper published this June coauthored by the project’s lead investigator, S. Bryn Austin, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School, found that young males think about their muscles.
“Latent transition analyses revealed that sexual minority males (i.e., mostly heterosexual, gay, and bisexual) were more likely than completely heterosexual males to be lean-concerned at ages 17-18 and 19-20 years and to transition to the lean-concerned class from the healthy class,” according to the paper. “There were no sexual orientation differences in odds of being muscle-concerned.”
The paper also suggested that young men should be “screened” to see if they are too preoccupied with their biceps.
“Both heterosexual and sexual minority males are at risk for presenting body image concerns and weight- and shape-related behaviors that may have deleterious health consequences,” the paper said. “Results suggest the need for screening for concerns and behaviors related to leanness and muscularity in early adolescence among all males, regardless of sexual orientation.”
No other results as to disparities between the obesity of lesbians versus straight women have been revealed. When the question was posed on a reddit for actual lesbians last year, some commenters echoed the NIH’s study’s premise that, “it is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic.”
“I was at women’s weekend in uptown this weekend,” one user said. “We are fat, there’s no question. My unpopular opinion? We just let ourselves go easier when we get into relationships. My [significant other] SO and I struggle with our weight but we HATE being fat so we force ourselves to eat healthy and get out and be athletic.”
“It’s tough though and many lesbians I know just don’t care, don’t want to put the work into it,” they said. “If you don’t care, who cares? If you’re happy that’s all that matters.”
The grant says the “project end date” and “budget end date” is June 30, 2016. The researchers argue that this is a study of “high public health significance.”