A new study shows that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens have a higher risk of binge-eating and purging than their heterosexual counterparts, perhaps because of social isolation.
Previous studies have shown that gay men were at higher risk of eating disorders than straight ones, but this is one of the first studies to look at gay teens. Interestingly, the study divided its population into homosexual, bisexual, "mostly heterosexual," and heterosexual groups, showing a little more acceptance of orientation fluidity than one might expect from mainstream science. Lead researcher S. Bryn Austin and her colleagues found that lesbian, bisexual, and mostly heterosexual girls were about twice as likely as heterosexual ones to report binge-eating. Bisexual and mostly heterosexual girls (though apparently not lesbians) were also more likely to purge. Homosexual boys were seven times more likely to binge and 12 times more likely to purge (behaviors Frank Bruni, pictured, wrote about in his book Born Round) than straight boys, with bisexual and mostly heterosexual boys facing a lesser but still elevated risk.