A new study by university researchers supports the stereotype that gay men are thinner than straight people and lesbians are heavier.

The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at a survey of more than 67,000 Massachusetts residents between the ages of 18 and 64.

According to msnbc.com, researchers found that while 21 per cent of straight men were classed as obese, only 14 per cent of gay men were.

Conversely, they found that 26 per cent of lesbians were obese, compared to 17 per cent of straight women.

It was also found that gay men and lesbians were more likely to smoke than straight people and lesbians were more likely to be at risk of heart disease than straight women.

The study’s lead author Kerith Conron, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, told the news provider the findings made a good case for tailoring health messages to lesbians and gay men.

“This may mean that we in the public health community need to come up with more tailored messages to reach these groups, just as car dealers do when they want to reach a specific target audience,” she said.

Ms Conron added that it may be more acceptable for gay women to be fuller-figured, which accounts for the higher rate of obesity.