Boys and girls belonging to sexual minority groups such as gay, lesbian and bisexuals are increasingly indulging in disordered eating trends than their heterosexual or straight peers, a new study suggests.
Disordered eating behaviour refers to unhealthy eating habits that have not been diagnosed by a physician as an eating disorder, although they are still serious and have the potential to be harmful.
In the study which was published in the journal ‘International Journal of Eating Disorders’, the researchers mentioned that the rate of disordered eating behaviours is actually increasing among lesbians and bisexuals, which is alarming.
According to the study, sexual minority peers may also purge or take laxatives, use diet pills or fast to lose weight than their straight peers.
The researchers also found that lesbians were twice as likely to report purging and fasting for weight control. Heterosexual boys had the lowest rates of these behaviours and they declined even further over the years. The study, which analysed data from teenagers between the age of 12 to 18, found that there were disparities in disordered eating behaviours which appeared to be declining for straight teenagers. However, the gap between them and sexual minority teenagers remained and for lesbian and bisexual girls, the gap appears to be widening.
“While it’s promising to see improvements in the rate of disordered eating behaviours among heterosexual youth, we cannot say there has been any definite reduction of these behaviours for sexual minority youth,” said Ryan Watson, Researcher at the University of British Columbia in Canada.