A new survey found that although the number of straight teens suffering from eating disorders is on the decline, LGBT teens are purging or taking pills to lose weight at a higher rate.
In a study conducted by the University of BC, which surveyed kids in the U.S. between the ages of 12 and 18 from 1999 to 2013, data revealed that gay males are five times more likely to use diet pills than their straight counterparts.
It also revealed that one-third of bisexual girls reported purging, which stayed about the same from ’99 to ’13, but that the rate increased for lesbians over that same time period, and decreased from 8% to 5% for straight girls.
Ryan Watson, the lead author of the study, was alarmed by the results and thinks that the healthy eating programs used to help straight teens are not reaching LGBT youth in the same way.
“I’d want parents, schools and clinicians to know there are these big disparities for this population,” Watson said. “We need to know it’s more nuanced than just LGB people have higher rates of disordered eating, but you need to consider the nuanced factor and see that lesbians and bisexuals actually may need to be approached differently.”