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Sexual abuse, sexual orientation, and obesity in women

Smith, HA and Markovic, N and Danielson, ME and Matthews, A and Youk, A and Talbott, EO and Larkby, C and Hughes, T (2010) Sexual abuse, sexual orientation, and obesity in women. Journal of Women's Health, 19 (8). 1525 - 1532. ISSN 1540-9996

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Background: Among adult women an association between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and obesity has been observed. Research with lesbian women has consistently identified high rates of obesity as well as frequent reports of CSA, but associations between sexual abuse and obesity have not been fully explored. Our aim was to investigate the relationship between sexual abuse (SA) history and obesity among heterosexual (n = 392) and lesbian (n = 475) women (age 35-64) who participated in the Epidemiologic STudy of HEalth Risk in Women (ESTHER) Project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Methods: Obesity was defined as body mass index (BMI) ≥30. Covariates included self-reported SA, sexual orientation, demographic factors, and history of a depression or anxiety diagnosis. SA history was assessed by three factors: (1) SA experienced under the age of 18 by a family member or (2) by a nonfamily member and (3) forced, unwanted sexual experience(s) at age ≥18. Data were analyzed using chi-square tests and logistic regression models. Results: Multiple logistic regression analyses revealed that obesity was associated with African American race, lesbian sexual orientation, intrafamilial CSA, and history of mental health diagnosis. Protective factors were having a household income of at least $75,000 and having a bachelor's degree or higher. Conclusions: Results suggest that lesbian women may be at greater risk of obesity than heterosexual women and that intrafamilial CSA-regardless of sexual orientation-may play a role in the development of obesity. © 2010, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Smith, HA
Markovic, Nninam@pitt.eduNINAM
Danielson, MEDanielsonM@edc.pitt.eduEPIDMED
Matthews, A
Youk, Aayouk@pitt.eduAYOUK
Talbott, EOeot1@pitt.eduEOT1
Larkby, Clarkby@pitt.eduLARKBY
Hughes, T
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for LGBT Health Research
Date: 1 August 2010
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Women's Health
Volume: 19
Number: 8
Page Range: 1525 - 1532
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1763
Schools and Programs: School of Dental Medicine > Dental Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1540-9996
MeSH Headings: Adult; African Americans; Aged; Body Mass Index; Child; Child Abuse, Sexual; Cross-Sectional Studies; European Continental Ancestry Group; Female; Homosexuality, Female; Humans; Logistic Models; Mental Disorders--diagnosis; Middle Aged; Obesity--ethnology; Obesity--etiology; Risk Factors; Sex Offenses; Socioeconomic Factors
Other ID: NLM PMC2941402
PubMed Central ID: PMC2941402
PubMed ID: 20524896
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2013 19:24
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:57


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