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Diseases and Different Ethnic Groups

 

The UK boasts a culturally diverse population with ethnic minorities accounting for almost 8% of the population in the 2001 census. This represented an increase in the percentage of ethnic members of the population by approximately 50% in the decade spanning 1991-2001. The largest ethnic minority group was Indians, followed by Pakistanis, mixed ethnic backgrounds, Black Caribbeans, Black Africans and Bangladeshis.

It is clear that each population group, either that determined by religion or ethnicity, has differences in terms of illness behaviour, seeking assistance with health matters and beliefs about illness. Some of these processes are determined by culture and more work is required to understand these reasons.

Furthermore, some diseases are more prevalent in certain ethnic groups - for example, cardiovascular-related illnesses are more prevalent in men from the Indian subcontinent. This has sparked a lot of interest, and programmes to increase the detection of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in ethnic groups are underway. Unsurprisingly, most of the surveys have focused on issues such as hypertensiondiabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease. Why these differences in predilection for illnesses exist across ethnic groups is unknown. Along similar lines it is important to remember that a large proportion of research is performed with cohorts that presently do not include enough ethnic minority patients, meaning that results may not necessarily correlate to patients from ethnic groups.[3] 

This article will focus on the results of two health surveys on ethnic minority groups in England.

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Individual views espoused in this article/paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the Portmir Foundation and have been included to represent the variety of different opinions that may exist on a single issue. In accordance with our democratic charter, the Portmir Foundation values debate in a spirit of mutual tolerance and understanding, even when such views contradict those of the Foundation. 

 

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