Studying Why Lesbians Tend to be Overweight: Why Government Spending Can't Be Cut a Dime


The National Institutes of Health gave $741,378 in 2012 to this study:

Full-Figured Man
Photo credit: Tobyotter / / CC BY

Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention; however, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities. It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males…..

Our study has high potential for public health impact not only for sexual minorities but also for heterosexuals, as we seek to uncover how processes of gender socialization may exacerbate obesity risk in both sexual minority females and heterosexual males. …

According to CNS News, the study also got $778 thousand from the government in 2011 as well, for a total of $1.5 million. From CNS:

However, the NICHD said the future of the project is uncertain because of the sequester–automatic spending cuts that took effect on March 1.

"The NIH is currently assessing the impact on funding due to sequestration," said Robert Bock, Press Officer for the NICHD.  "It is not possible to say how this (or any other NIH grant) will be affected in the long term beyond the 90 percent funding levels already in place."

"Obesity is a serious public health problem affecting a large proportion of the U.S. population,"  Bock said.  "The study is examining reasons why the risk of obesity varies according to sexual orientation, in order to inform the development of future strategies to prevent obesity."

The researchers said the subject is one of "high public-health significance."

To point out what sounds like the setup to bad observational standup comedy about the differences between lesbians and gay men with some implied scorn is not to be anti-science, anti-knowledge, or anti-lesbian.

It is to suggest that our government has gotten into its fiscal mess by not quite taking seriously the specific tasks for which government is instituted among the people, and is lying when it acts like those tasks will necessarily be endangered by government spending a penny less than the increase it already decided to spend next year. In other words, we are indeed getting more government than we either can afford or need.

[Hat tip: Brinck Slattery]