Hawaii's LGBT youth habits may lead to poorer health in adulthood, report says
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A new report by the state Department of Health says a high percentage of Hawaii’s LGBT youth community may experience early risk factors that contribute to poorer health in adulthood.
According to the report, many lesbian, gay or bisexual youth are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors that increase their risk for chronic disease. About a quarter report they smoke cigarettes, and nearly half drink alcohol. One in 10 say they have injected illicit drugs at least once in their lifetime.
Moreover, the report says, sexual and gender minority youth often fall victim to bullying, family rejection and lack of acceptance, leading to greater mental health challenges. Half of LGB youth report feeling sad or hopeless, while 43.5 reported that they purposely hurt themselves through behaviors such as cutting or burning.
When it comes to adults, LGB adults live with poorer health outcomes than heterosexual adults, the report found. Forty percent of LGB adults reported having multiple chronic conditions and are twice as likely to suffer from depression compared to heterosexual adults.
About a quarter of lesbian or bisexual women have asthma and are three times more likely to have a stroke. Meanwhile, men identifying as gay or bisexual are seven times more likely to experience abuse by a partner, and three times more likely to be a victim of rape or attempted rape.
In all, more than 10 percent of public high school youth identify as LGB or are questioning. Three percent of adults identify as LGB. An additional 5,600 adults in Hawaii identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.