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Sexual, Behavioral, and Quality of Life Characteristics of Healthy Weight, Overweight, and Obese Gay and Bisexual Men: Findings from a Prospective Cohort Study

Abstract

While there have been attempts to explore the association of obesity and risky sexual behaviors among gay men, findings have been conflicting. Using a prospective cohort of gay and bisexual men residing in Pittsburgh, we performed a semi-parametric, group-based analysis to identify distinct groups of trajectories in body mass index slopes over time from 1999 to 2007 and then correlated these trajectories with a number of psychosocial and behavioral factors, including sexual behaviors. We found many men were either overweight (41.2%) or obese (10.9%) in 1999 and remained stable at these levels over time, in contrast to recent increasing trends in the general population. Correlates of obesity in our study replicated findings from the general population. However, we found no significant association between obesity and sexual risk-taking behaviors, as suggested from several cross-sectional studies of gay men. While there was not a significant association between obesity and sexual risk-taking behaviors, we found high prevalence of overweight and obesity in this population. Gay and bisexual men’s health researchers and practitioners need to look beyond HIV and STI prevention and also address a broader range of health concerns important to this population.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the participants and staff of the Pitt Men’s Study, in particular, Carol Perfetti. The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the following individuals: Thomas E. Guadamuz (DA022936), Sin How Lim (DA025952), Michael P. Marshal (AA015100), and Mark S. Friedman (MH080648).

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Correspondence to Thomas E. Guadamuz.

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Guadamuz, T.E., Lim, S.H., Marshal, M.P. et al. Sexual, Behavioral, and Quality of Life Characteristics of Healthy Weight, Overweight, and Obese Gay and Bisexual Men: Findings from a Prospective Cohort Study. Arch Sex Behav 41, 385–389 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-011-9859-5

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Keywords

  • Sexual behavior
  • Obesity
  • Quality of life
  • HIV risks
  • Gay and bisexual men’s health
  • Men who have sex with men