The Health of Britain's Ethnic Minorities


The Fourth National Survey included an extensive section on health, health-related behaviours and the use of health services. This means that, for the first time, there has been an opportunity to explore the complex relationship between health and ethnicity using a sample that is fully representative of the ethnic groups included. The rich detail of the lives of members of different ethnic groups provided by the survey has also meant that factors which might explain the relationship between ethnicity and health could be directly considered.

Findings presented in the report challenge current assumptions about the uniform pattern of ill-health across broadly defined ethnic groups, such as South Asian’. They also illustrate the importance of socio-economic factors to differences in health, both within particular ethnic groups and when making comparisons across ethnic groups. Consequently, the report challenges the focus on culture and biology as key explanatory factors for ethnic variations in health, with important implications for policy and practice. It also raises important theoretical and methodological issues for research on ethnicity and health.