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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
5119.0: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #110637

Reproductive Health and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Older Lesbians

Eve Zaritsky, MD, Lesbian Health Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, Laurel Heights Center, 3333 California St Suite 340, San Francisco, CA 94118, 415 602 2321, eve_z@yahoo.com and Suzanne L. Dibble, DNSc, Institute of Health & Aging, University of California San Francisco, 3333 California Street, Suite 340, San Francisco, CA 94118.


Determine whether older lesbians have more reproductive health and cardiovascular risk factors compared with heterosexual women of the same age.


Drawing from an initial cross sectional anonymous matched survey from 324 lesbians and their sisters, aged 40 and older, we extracted data on a subset of older lesbians and their sisters, 50 years and older. The survey looked at their gynecologic/reproductive history and cardiovascular risk factors. Comparisons between sisters were generated using paired t tests, analysis of variance, and McNemars Chi Square.


Compared to their sisters, lesbians had significantly fewer pregnancies (p< .0001), less children (p< .0001), fewer abortions (p< .0001), nursed less (p< .0001), and tended to have a lower usage of birth control pills. In terms of cardiovascular risk factors they had significantly greater waist-to-hip ratios (p<.03) and tended to have higher body mass indices. Differences in smoking and alcohol use were not significant, as has been found in younger lesbians.


These findings suggest that older lesbians may have greater risk factors for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Future studies need to further quantify and characterize older lesbian risk profiles and then identify interventions to reduce them.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Lesbian Health, Elderly

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Health Disparities Among LGBT Populations

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA