A recent report from the USA’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that LGBT people are more likely to smoke, drink excessively and experience psychological distress than heterosexual people of a similar age.
The report, which surveyed over 34,000 LGBT and straight adults, is one of the first in America to look at the health differences between people of different sexual orientations.
Data collected by the institute found that a higher percentage of LGBT people consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, defined as 5 or more drinks on average per day. 35.1% of gay and lesbian people and 41.5% of bisexual people reported drinking too much compared to around 26% for straight people.
Sexual minorities were also found to be more likely to be smokers, with lesbians and bisexuals being the most likely to smoke.
But as well as leading unhealthy lifestyles the report also found that LGBT people had a higher likelihood of suffering poor mental-health. 11%of bisexuals reported to have suffered serious psychological distress within 30 days of the survey compared to just 3.9% of straight participants.
Although the initial results may seem to show a shocking disparity between straight and LGBT Americans researchers from the centre warned that the data alone is not enough to draw conclusions about LGBT lifestyles.
Researchers in multiple countries have previously investigated the ease of access to health care between straight and LGBT groups and several countries have identified LGBT people as a minority that often suffers from poorer health. It is also believed that LGBT people are more likely to suffer from poor mental-health but the debate is still ongoing as to the exact reasons for this.