A new initiative by National Lesbian Health Organization called Making Our Vitality Evident (MOVE) is aimed at helping to reverse the trend of lesbians who are obese and overweight. MOVE is a weight loss/risk reduction program for women identifying as lesbian, bisexual, and gay, involving movement and nutrition change. The program, free to participants, hopes to serve 100 women in DC, and is funded by the DC Department of Health.
To stimulate interest in the new program and to influence a broader swath of the community, Mautner Project has begun an ad series in Metro DC buses and LGBT community newspapers featuring lesbians engaged in healthy activities. The ads include photos of women walking, hiking and cycling with humorous slogans such as “Take your blood pressure and cholesterol out for a spin” and “3 steps to improve your health: right, left, right.”
In a joint research study conducted earlier this year by Mautner Project and Vanderbilt University Associate Professor Dr. Sarah Fogel, over half of the lesbian, bisexual and 2-spirited women who participated in the study categorized themselves as “heavier than average” when they were asked what body type most represented them. Additionally, 10.8% of the respondents categorized themselves as “much heavier than average.”
“Although we found there was a need, there were no weight-loss programs in the Metro DC area specifically targeted for the community of lesbian, bisexual, and gay women,” said Leslie Calman, Ph.D., Executive Director of Mautner Project. “Our newly implemented MOVE program helps women explore the effect weight has on their overall health and encourages women to openly discuss issues related to their weight. Once in the program they are asked to select one of four eating plans and to simultaneously participate in a purposeful movement activity on a regular basis.”
Women interested in being a part of Mautner Project’s next MOVE group can enroll by calling Mautner Project. The enrollment process usually takes about 30-45 minutes and there is no cost for participation. The 12-week program is restricted to women who identify as a sexual minority, to ensure a safe space for addressing issues that may be specific to their lives; they must also be DC residents. Contact D Magrini at DMagrini@mautnerproject.org or 202.332.5536 to enroll in the MOVE study program.
Download the official Lesbians and Obesity Report.