, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 117-123

Body Size at Birth and Same-Sex Marriage in Young Adulthood

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Abstract

An unexplained excess of overweight has been reported among lesbians. In contrast, reports suggest that gay men may be, on average, slightly lighter and shorter than heterosexual men. We studied associations between weight, length, and body mass index (BMI) at birth and same-sex marriage in young adulthood among 818,671 Danes. We used linear regression to calculate differences in mean body measures at birth and Poisson regression analysis to calculate confounder-adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRR) of same-sex marriage according to body measures at birth. Overall, 739 persons entered same-sex marriage at age 18–32 years during 5.6 million person-years of follow-up. Birth year-adjusted mean body measures at birth were similar for same-sex married and other women. However, same-sex marriage rates were 65% higher among women of heavy birth weight (IRR = 1.65; 95% CI = 1.18–2.31, for ≥4000 vs. 3000–3499 g, p = .02), and rates were inversely associated with birth length (p trend = .04). For same-sex married men, birth year-adjusted mean weight (−72 g, p = .03), length (−0.3 cm, p = .04), and BMI (−0.1 kg/m2, p = .09) at birth were lower than for other Danish men. Same-sex marriage rates were increased in men of short birth length (IRR = 1.45; 95% CI = 1.01–2.08, for ≤50 vs. 51–52 cm), although not uniformly so (p trend = .16). Our population-based findings suggest that overweight in lesbians may be partly rooted in constitutional factors. Novel findings of smaller average body measures at birth in same-sex marrying men need replication. Factors affecting intrauterine growth may somehow influence sexual and partner-related choices in adulthood.