National representative data on the health of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in England published for the first time
Notes for editors
- A total of 58,226 adults (aged 16 and over) were interviewed in the Health Survey for England (HSE) surveys from 2011 to 2018. The HSE provides information about people living in private households in England. The survey consists of an interview in person, followed by a visit from a nurse who takes a number of measurements and samples. The HSE, in common with other surveys, collects information from a sample of the population. The sample is designed to represent the whole population as accurately as possible within practical constraints, such as time and cost. Consequently, statistics based on the survey are estimates, rather than precise figures, and are subject to a margin of error. However, only findings with statistically significant differences are presented in this press notice. The samples who take part in the survey are weighted to provide statistics that are representative of the population.
- The National Centre for Social Research is an independent social research organisation: www.natcen.ac.uk
- A survey question about sexual orientation was first included in HSE in 2011. In the HSE surveys, sexual identity has been asked as a question within the self-completion section: “Which of the following options best describes how you think of yourself?”. Participants had the option to select from the five following answer options: Heterosexual or Straight, Gay or Lesbian, Bisexual, Other and Prefer not to say. This is a standard question recommended for surveys by the Office for National Statistics: Sexual orientation data harmonised standard – GSS (civilservice.gov.uk).
- Of all adults, 96% identified as heterosexual or straight (55,673 adults) and 2% (1,132 adults) identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Another 2% (1,421 adults) identified as ‘Other’ or answered ‘Prefer not to say’ to the question on sexual orientation, and these adults were not included in the analyses due to potential difficulties with interpretation. HSE does not include a question about gender identity or trans status. It is not therefore possible to present findings on trans and non-binary people’s health outcomes and health-related behaviours in this publication. This question is currently being considered for future surveys.
- This has been measured using Body Mass Index (BMI) defined as weight in kilograms divided by the height in metres squared (kg/m2). This is used as a measure of obesity in the HSE series. BMI does not distinguish between mass due to body fat and mass due to muscular physique. It also does not take account of the distribution of fat.
- The question on longstanding illness asks about physical and mental health and refers to illnesses or conditions ‘lasting or expected to last 12 months or more’. A longstanding illness is defined as limiting if the participant reports that it reduces their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
- Those who reported that they had a long-standing condition were also asked “What is the matter with you?”, and their answers for up to six conditions were recorded verbatim. These were coded into 42 conditions which were further grouped into the 14 chapter categories of the medical classification ICD-10, the 10th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases. Mental, Behavioural and Neurodevelopmental conditions include mental illness (e.g. anxiety, depression, ‘nerves’ and others), learning disabilities, behavioural and neurodevelopmental conditions.
Last edited: 6 July 2021 9:22 am