The current study sought to determine whether health status and health risk behaviors of Canadian women varied based on sexual identity. This was a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Canadian Community Health Survey: cycle 2.1, a national population-based survey designed to gather health data on a representative sample of over 135,000 Canadians including 354 lesbian respondents, 424 bisexual women respondents, and 60,937 heterosexual women respondents. Sexual orientation was associated with disparities in health status and health risk behaviors for lesbian and bisexual women in Canada. Bisexual women were more likely than lesbians or heterosexual women to report poor or fair mental and physical health, mood or anxiety disorders, lifetime STD diagnosis, and, most markedly, life-time suicidality. Lesbians and bisexual women were also more likely to report daily smoking and risky drinking than heterosexual women. In sum, sexual orientation was associated with health status in Canada. Bisexual women, in particular, reported poorer health outcomes than lesbian or heterosexual women, indicating this group may be an appropriate target for specific health promotion interventions.
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