Addressing the Health Needs of LGBT Missourians

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ST. LOUIS - The Missouri Foundation of Health issued a report finding LGBT Missourians health below the general population average.

The report found that LGBT Missourians are less likely to report to be in good health and face conditions such as heart disease, asthma, obesity, smoking related illness and substance abuse more then the general public.

These conditions are linked to health behaviors dealing with social and economic environments, clinical care, insurance coverage, and access to preventive care.

Ryan Barker, MFH Health Policy Director, said " the LGBT community turns to things like smoking, higher rates of obesity, eating unhealthy, and those are coping mechanisms, they are a way for people to deal with those daily stresses in their lives like discrimination and oppression".

According to the report sexual and gender minorities are 1.5 times more likely to uninsured. LGBT families are more likely to be poor and underemployed than non LGBT families. Also LGBT are twice as likely not to receive medical care or surgery.

"A lot of this community is fearful of being discriminated against in the doctor's office and so often times the population is reluctant to go to the doctor or access the health care system", Barker said.

The report also found that cultural competent providers are hard to come by in Missouri with less than 15 of 5,704 primary care physicians have registered as LGBT-affirming in the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association on-line database.

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