Gender minority adults more likely to report poor or fair health

May 30, 2017, The JAMA Network Journals

Gender minority adults report more health disparities than their peers who are cisgender (gender identity corresponds to gender at birth), according to a research letter published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study by Carl G. Streed, Jr., M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and coauthors was based on data from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS), a surveillance system conducted by state health departments in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2013, the CDC developed a identity question module for the BRFSS and states had the option of administering the module starting in 2014.

Of the 315,893 individuals who completed the gender identity questionnaire from the 2014 and 2015 BRFSS, the authors classified 1,443 as gender minority and 314,450 as cisgender.

Compared with cisgender adults, gender minority adults were:

  • Younger, less likely to be non-Hispanic white, married or living with a partner, have a minor child in the household or be English speaking.
  • More likely to have a lower income, be unemployed, be uninsured, have unmet medical care because of its cost, be overweight and report depression.
  • More likely report poor or fair health; difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions; and being limited in any way.

The authors note generalizability of the findings is limited until all states and territories collect gender identity data.

"To begin to eliminate , all states and territories should administer the CDC-approved module to provide widespread collection of data using standard, reliable questions. Our findings signal to public health professionals and practitioners to pay attention to the of this vulnerable population," the article concludes.

Explore further: Is the mental healthcare system meeting the needs of sexual and gender minorities?

More information: JAMA Internal Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.1460

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