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...but does it really matter?

  • Women are 20% less likely than men to enrol in cardiac rehab programmes.[16][15][9]

  • Men tend to present at a later stage of depression, when symptoms become severe, to specialist service.[1]

  • Early onset major depressive disorder may reduce the educational attainment and earning potential of women compared to men.[8]

  • Men and women currently undergo the same investigations to diagnose lung cancer, despite being diagnosed with different histological types.

  • In women, smoking is linked to lower fertility, cancer of the cervix, osteoporosis, and difficulties with both menstruation and menopause.

  • Gay men are six times more likely and lesbians are twice as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to attempt suicide.[17][10][11][12]

  • Smoking during pregnancy is associated with lower birth weight babies.

  • Non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur at a higher rate in female than male athletes at a similar level of competition.[36]

  • It is estimated that up to 10% of the population identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.[18][13][14][10][11][12]

YES, it really matters, gender is a determinant of health!


1. World Health Organization, Gender and Mental Health, Report June 2002.

8. Berndt ER, Koran LM, Finkelstein SN, Gelenberg AJ, Kornstein SG, Miller IM, Thase ME, Trapp GA, Keller MB Lost human capital from early-onset chronic depression. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2000 June;157:940-7.

9. Moore, S.M., Kramer, F.M., Women’s and Men’s Preferences for Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs. J Cardiopulm Rehabil 1996, 16:123.

10. Anonymous [Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association]. Health care needs of gay men and lesbians in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1996;275(17):1354-1359.

11. Lee R. Health care problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. Western Journal of Medicine. 2000;172:403-408 1999.

12. Solarz, AL Ed. Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future. Washington DC. National Academy Press; 1999.

13. Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Council. A Provider's Handbook on Culturally Competent Care: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Population. Oakland, CA. Kaiser Permanente; 2000.

14. Lee R. How to talk about sex with patients who are not heterosexual. Western Journal of Medicine. 2000;172(6):401-402.

15. Carhart, R.L., Ades, P.A., Gender Differences in Cardiac Rehabilitation. Cardiology Clinics. 1998;16(1): 37-43.

16. Limacher, M.C., Exercise and Rehabilitation in Women: Indications and Outcomes. Cardiology Clinics. 1998;16(1): 27-36.

17. Peterkin A, Risdon C. Caring for Lesbian and Gay People: A Clinical Guide. 2003. University of Toronto Press Incorporated. Toronto, Ontario.

18. Davis V, Christilaw JE, Edwards C, Francoeur D, Grant LJ, Parish B, Saraf-Dhar R, Steben M. SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines. Policy Statement No. 87. Lesbian Health Guidelines. Journal of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. 2000;22(3):202-205. Accessed on July 18, 2003.

36. Dugan SA. Sports-related knee injuries in female athletes: what gives? Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2005;84(2):122-30.

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