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Body size and weight, and the nutrition and activity behaviors of sexual and gender minority youth: Findings and implications from New Zealand

Lucassen, Mathijs; Guntupalli, Aravinda; Clark, Terryann; Fenaughty, John; Denny, Simon; Fleming, Theresa; Smith, Melody and Utter, Jennifer (2019). Body size and weight, and the nutrition and activity behaviors of sexual and gender minority youth: Findings and implications from New Zealand. Public Health Nutrition, 22(13) pp. 2346–2356.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980019001149
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Abstract

Objective:To describe the body size and weight, and the nutrition and activity behaviors of sexual and gender minority (SGM) students, and compare them with those of exclusively opposite-sex-attracted cisgender students. Male and female SGM students were also compared.

Design: Data were from a nationally representative health survey.

Setting: Secondary schools in New Zealand, 2012.

Subjects: A total of 7,769 students, 9% were SGM individuals.

Results: Overall, weight control behaviors, poor nutrition and inactivity were common and, in many cases, more so for SGM students. Specifically, male SGM students were significantly more likely to have tried to lose weight (aOR=1.95; 95% CI 1.47, 2.59), engage in unhealthy weight control (aOR=2.17; 95% CI 1.48, 3.19), consume fast food and takeaways (aOR=2.89; 95% CI 2.01, 4.15), and be physically inactive (aOR=2.54; 95% CI 1.65, 3.92), and were less likely to participate in a school sports team (aOR=0.57; 95% CI 0.44, 0.75), compared with other males. Female SGM students were significantly more likely to engage in unhealthy weight control (aOR=1.58; 95% CI 1.20, 2.08), be overweight or obese (aOR=1.24; 95% CI 1.01, 1.53), and consume fast food and takeaways (aOR=2.19; 95% CI 1.59, 3.03), and were less likely to participate in a school sports team (aOR=0.62; 95% CI 0.50, 0.76), compared with other females. Generally, female SGM students were more negatively affected than comparable males, except they were less likely to consume fast food and takeaways frequently (aOR 0.62; 95% CI 0.40, 0.96).

Conclusions: SGM students reported increased weight control behaviors, poor nutrition and inactivity. Professionals, including public health nutritionists, must recognize and help to address the challenges facing sexual and gender minorities.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2019 The Authors
ISSN: 1475-2727
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Youth’12 was funded by the Ministries of Youth Development, Social Development, Health, Education, Justice; the Department of Labour, Families Commission; and the Alcohol Advisory Council. The authors also acknowledge Toshiba (Australia) Pty. Limited. MSNot SetNot Set
Keywords: Adolescent; LGBT; exercise; eating disorders; obesity
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care > Health and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 59473
Depositing User: Mathijs Lucassen
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2019 08:48
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2019 22:28
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/59473
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