Gay and transgender children more likely to be obese, study finds

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There’s a new link between kids’ sexual or gender identity and obesity.

A new study has found that gay, bisexual and transgender children are the most vulnerable to obesity and binge eating disorders.

About 12,000 American children, with an average age of 10, answered a virtual questionnaire in a new study published this month in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The scientists at Maryland’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences quizzed the kids on their age, sexuality, race, socioeconomic status, weight and eating habits. From the results, they determined that kids who self-identify as sexual or gender minorities were more likely to be obese.

The 1.6 percent (190 kids) who answered “yes” or “maybe” on questions asking them if they were gay, bisexual or transgender were 3.5 times more at risk of having a binge-eating disorder, the Daily Mail reported.

Five of these children were found to have disordered binge eating, compared to 129 (1.1 percent) of the children who identified as heterosexual and cisgendered. No correlation was found between sexual or gender identity and bulimia or anorexia, however.

Readers should keep in mind, researchers acknowledge, the fact that most children will continue to develop their sense of gender and sexual identity over time.

Racially, researchers found that minority children were twice as likely to be obese as white children.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has not been helpful for childhood eating habits, with one summer survey finding that New York kids have been packing on an average of almost 10 pounds during the COVID-19 lockdown. Other reports have found that close to one in five US children are considered obese, despite national programs which have, in recent years, attempted to curb this health issue. (Obesity is defined as not merely being overweight, but egregiously so, and is one of America’s leading public health problems.)

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