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Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 15:43 GMT
Ethnic health inequalities
Ethnic minority smoking higher
Smoking rates are higher among some ethnic minorities
Ethnic grouping plays a big part in the sort of ill health someone will suffer, according to a new study.

The Health Survey for England shows that South Asian men are more at risk of angina and heart attack than others, with Black Caribbean and Indian men having a greater risk of stroke.

But the researchers found that Chinese women have a lower rate of ischaemic heart disease than the rest of the population.

The government survey also reported that all minority ethnic groups apart from the Irish and Chinese were likely to suffer a higher rate of diabetes.


When we talk about the health of the nation we must look at the whole nation

Dr Surendra Kumar
The survey, the most extensive on the health of ethnic minorities, looked at the health of 6,800 adults and 3,400 children from Black Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Irish communities.

And the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) says the new research shows that health cash and research needs to be specifically targetted.

Chris Myant, of the CRE, said: "The differentials reveal how important it is for this kind of monitoring and for them to be used to target areas of particular need."

Dr Surendra Kumar, Chairman of the Overseas Doctors Association, said the report had highlighted concerns that were being raised by doctors treating ethnic minority patients.

"I think a lot of these things were known to us, but this will bring these issues to the top of the agenda.

"I think this will give some kind of scientific basis and make people think about the importance of different ethnic healths. When we talk about the health of the nation we must look at the whole nation," he said.

Obesity

Researchers looked at obesity and found that men from South Asian and Chinese communities were less likely to be obese than those from other ethnic groups.

Among women the Black Caribbean and Pakistani women were more likely to be obese, while the Chinese and Bangladeshi women were less likely to be so.

Bangladeshi men were found to be 60% more likely to smoke than others, although rates were also high among Irish and Black Caribbean men.

Among the children the highest smokers were Irish girls.

Black Caribbean, Pakistani and Chinese men were less likely to have a high total cholesterol than the general population.

All the ethnic minority groups, except for the Irish, were found to drink less than the general population.

The same was true among the children with the lowest alcohol use among Pakistani and Bangladeshi children.

Physical activity

Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese men and South Asian and Chinese women were also less likely to take part in physical activities.

This was also true among children with girls in all minority ethnic groups less likely than boys to have taken part in sports and exercise.

Chinese men and women said they were less likely to visit a hospital, and children in all minority groups said they were less likely to visit a dentist.

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See also:

22 Jul 00 | Health
Ethnic tooth decay 'decreasing'
07 Mar 00 | Scotland
Project aims at ethnic minority men
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