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HealthBeat

Study: Transgender youth have poorer health

Transgender youth have poorer health and lower rates of preventive health checkups than their cisgender peers, according to new research.

A new study published in this month’s Pediatrics journal looked at mental and physical health characteristics and care utilization between transgender and gender nonconforming youth and cisgender youth.

Transgender youth identify as a different gender than the sex assigned at birth. Cisgender youth have the same gender identity and birth-assigned-sex.

The researchers analyzed data on more than 80,000 high-schoolers in Minnesota. About 3 percent of those students consider themselves transgender/gender nonconforming.

The research found that about 38 percent of transgender teens reported having very good/excellent health, compared to 67 percent of cisgender teens. About 59 percent of transgender teens reported having long-term mental health problems, compared to just 17 percent of cisgender teens.

Transgender teens also reported a lower rate of preventive checkups in the past year (60 percent) and a higher rate of nurse office visits (41 percent) compared to their cisgender peers (65 percent and 26 percent, respectively).

“These barriers contribute to delays in seeking services, which may result in poorer health outcomes,” the authors wrote.

“Although youth who are (transgender/gender nonconforming) generally appear healthy and many are using health care services, continued research and advocacy are needed to decrease barriers to care and improve health outcomes for these young people, particularly those whose perceived gender expressions transgress societal expectations,” the authors wrote.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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