Behavioral risk factors for disease and preventive health practices among lesbians

Am J Public Health. 2001 Jun;91(6):972-5. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.6.972.


Objectives: This study compared the prevalence of health behaviors among lesbians and in the general population of women.

Methods: We used a cross-sectional community-based survey of 1010 self-identified lesbians 18 years or older.

Results: Compared with the general population of women, lesbians were more likely to report cigarette use, alcohol use, and heavy alcohol use. A higher percentage of lesbians were categorized as overweight, and lesbians were more likely to participate in vigorous physical activity. They were less likely to report having had a Papanicolaou test within the past 2 years but more likely to report ever having had a mammogram.

Conclusions: While there may be differences in health behaviors between lesbians and the general population of women, how these differences influence the risk of subsequent disease is unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health