Clinical

Worrisome health disparities among transgender adults


 

Background: The transgender population historically has not been identified in population research. Little is known about their health care needs.

Study design: Survey review.

Setting: Large, continuously operative health survey.

Synopsis: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added an optional Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity module to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2014. Compared with non–transgender responders, transgender adults (0.55% of responders) were more likely to report “fair” or “poor” health status (24.5% vs. 18.2%), were more likely to have experienced severe mental distress in the last 30 days (20.3% vs. 11.6), and were more likely to be physically inactive (35% vs. 25.6%), smoke cigarettes (19.2% vs. 16.3%), and lack health care coverage (20.1% vs. 14.6%).

Bottom line: Transgender adults report worse physical and mental health status. Physicians should consider these disparities during screening and treatment.

Citation: Baker K. Findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System on health-related quality of life among U.S. transgender adults, 2014-2017. JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Apr 22. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.7931.

Dr. Hoegh is a hospitalist at the University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora.

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