Sexual minority adolescents are more likely to have obesity compared to their heterosexual peers, but little is known about potential contributors to this disparity that lie outside of individual-level health behaviors, such as diet and exercise. One possible contributor is school violence victimization, a factor associated with overweight/obesity in adolescence. Another possible contributor is school climate, which is associated with feelings of safety and connectedness that can lower the likelihood of school violence victimization. Moreover, even less is known about relationships among all these factors among sexual minority adolescents. This gap in the literature was addressed by analyzing CDC’s district-level data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and School Health Profiles (N = 60,625; 50.9% female, Mage = 16 years, 84.7% heterosexual, 15.3% sexual minority). Using multilevel mixed effects logistic regression models and controlling for covariates, it was found that among females and males, those with 2+ counts of last 12-month school violence victimization had higher odds of obesity than those with no school violence victimization (AOR = 1.33; AOR = 1.24). Furthermore, females and males in more positive LGBTQ school climates had lower odds of obesity than those in less positive school climates (AOR = 0.84; AOR = 0.85). There were no sexual identity differences in these models. Findings support the careful consideration of school violence victimization and LGBTQ school climate in future obesity prevention initiatives.

Other Authors
  1. April J. Ancheta
  2. Tonda L. Hughes
  3. Jianfang Liu
  4. Jean-Marie Bruzzese