Sexual Orientation Disparities in Cancer-Related Risk Behaviors of Tobacco, Alcohol, Sexual Behaviors, and Diet and Physical Activity: Pooled Youth Risk Behavior Surveys

Am J Public Health. 2014 Feb;104(2):245-54. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301506. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Abstract

Objectives: We examined sexual orientation disparities in cancer-related risk behaviors among adolescents.

Methods: We pooled data from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. We classified youths with any same-sex orientation as sexual minority and the remainder as heterosexual. We compared the groups on risk behaviors and stratified by gender, age (< 15 years and > 14 years), and race/ethnicity.

Results: Sexual minorities (7.6% of the sample) reported more risk behaviors than heterosexuals for all 12 behaviors (mean = 5.3 vs 3.8; P < .001) and for each risk behavior: odds ratios (ORs) ranged from 1.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2, 1.4) to 4.0 (95% CI = 3.6, 4.7), except for a diet low in fruit and vegetables (OR = 0.7; 95% CI = 0.5, 0.8). We found sexual orientation disparities in analyses by gender, followed by age, and then race/ethnicity; they persisted in analyses by gender, age, and race/ethnicity, although findings were nuanced.

Conclusions: Data on cancer risk, morbidity, and mortality by sexual orientation are needed to track the potential but unknown burden of cancer among sexual minorities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Age Factors
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexuality / ethnology
  • Sexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology