For the first time in nearly 60 years, a national health survey from the CDC includes questions about sexual orientation. The agency wants to know if it influences health patterns.
The study shows the strengths and weaknesses for all demographics now, giving a more complete representation of the nation's health status.
"I applaud this study for being the first of its kind."
Frank House says this is a step in the right direction. House wears many hats. One of which has him serving as the chairman of the Roanoke Diversity Center. He's also a gay man. To him, this CDC study could make a lot of difference.
"We want to know as a community what factors are involved. If we have a predisposition towards a certain cancer or so forth. It's certainly a benefit to our community," House says.
This national health survey looked at close to 35,000 Americans of all backgrounds. The aim is to give the government its first large-scale data on the gay and bisexual population for the first time.
"I think the political climate is changing, efforts towards equality are getting more and more traction. We're seeing that on a national level and also a state and local level," says House.
Highlights of the study show that the gay community smokes and drinks more than its heterosexual counterparts. It also determined they're also more health conscious in terms of exercise and seeking preventative medical care.
"I don't think anyone is out to pick on heterosexual obese people for instance. We're in this together," House told WDBJ7.
The study also provides national estimates for indicators of health related behaviors, health status and health care utilization; something that could pave the way for a healthier tomorrow for everyone.
"I think it's a good study. It serves as a tool to help us move forward and to make things better."
The entire study can be found here.