The National Institutes of Health awarded a Boston hospital more than $1.5 million to figure out why nearly three-quarters of lesbians are overweight — calling the disparities a significant public health issue.

“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,” according to a description of the grant.

The taxpayer money was awarded to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to study the relationship between sexual orientation and obesity. The project is overseen by S. Bryn Austin.

The grant was awarded through the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The hospital received a 2011 grant worth $778,622 and a 2012 grant worth $778,622.

According to the NIH grant, the project’s end date is in 2016.

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