A population-based study of cardiovascular disease risk in sexual-minority women

Grant W. Farmer, Jennifer M. Jabson, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Deborah J. Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objectives. We sought to determine if sexual-minority women were at greater risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than their heterosexual counterparts. Methods. We aggregated data from the 2001-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to examine differences in CVD risk between heterosexual and sexual-minority women by using the Framingham General CVD Risk Score to calculate a ratio of vascular and chronological age. We also examined differences in the prevalence of various CVD risk factors. Results. Sexual-minority women were more likely to be current or former smokers, to report a history of drug use, to report risky drinking, and to report a family history of CVD. On average, sexual-minority women were 13.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.5%, 19.3%) older in vascular terms than their chronological age, which was 5.7% (95% CI = 1.5%, 9.8%) greater than that of their heterosexual counterparts. Family history of CVD and history of drug use were unrelated to increased CVD risk, and this risk was not fully explained by either risky drinking or smoking. Conclusions. Sexual-minority women are at increased risk for CVD compared with heterosexual women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1850
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

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