Which part of sequestration does the administration not understand? The Washington Free Beacon notes that the National Institutes of Health have awarded three grants to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to study why three quarters of lesbians are obese. Total funding for the grants comes to $2,202,873.
The project has survived budget cuts due to sequestration, which the NIH warned would ‘delay progress in medical breakthroughs.’
The study, being led by S. Bryn Austin, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, sets out to find the biological and social factors for why ‘three-quarters’ of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not.
So why was this project spared the sequestration axe even as adorable blinded bunnies at the University of Utah medical school were not? Robert Bock, press officer for the NICHD, said in March:
The NIH is currently assessing the impact on funding due to sequestration. It is not possible to say how this [or any other NIH grant] will be affected in the long term beyond the 90 percent funding levels already in place.
In other words, who knows?
Although the NIH has indicated that “every area of medical research will be affected” and admits to “delaying progress in medical breakthroughs,” the study on disparities between sexual orientation and obesity was viewed as vital enough to deserved ongoing funding.
The first lady’s devotion to conquering the scourge of obesity appears to figure into the mix. A statement from HIH reads:
Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the U.S. today. Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention; however, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities.
And then there’s this from the project’s abstract:
It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.
So far, WFB writes, the study has yielded one report, published in January, which found that gay and bisexual males had a “greater desire for toned muscles than completely and mostly heterosexual males.”