The latest statistics of the Office for National Statistics provide the most complete and up-to-date national profile on ethnic inequalities when it comes to mortality, both overall and for common physical conditions. The data shows that there are many ethnic differences in mortality across England. There are also variations between ethnic minorities and White British people, as well as between ethnic groups.
These findings confirm previous reports that people in ethnic minorities, particularly Black Africans and Chinese, have lower mortality rates than White British. This is often attributed to a healthy migration effect ‘. The data below these headlines shows highly varied patterns by ethnicity and even health conditions. Further confirmation shows that South Asians, but not Blacks, experience higher mortality rates from heart disease compared to White British. The reverse is true for prostate cancer. South Asians and Blacks both have high mortality rates from diabetes and hypertension (as well as chronic kidney disease, which is often caused by diabetes). The mortality rates of many conditions are different between South Asian groups. Indians and Bangladeshi subgroups have the lowest rates.
Most people in ethnic minorities have a lower mortality rate from certain leading causes of death, such as cancer (including breast, lung, and colorectal), dementia, and Alzheimer’s. It is more common in certain groups. For example, in Asians and Blacks, there are higher rates of liver, uterine, and blood cancers.
Deprivation is a major factor in determining health status for all ethnic minorities.
OnS data also shows that there is geographical variation: the north and Midlands of England have higher mortality rates than the south and London. This confirms previous ONS findings that the highest mortality rate is in the most deprived areas. Deprivation is a major factor in determining health status for all groups, but it affects ethnic minority groups disproportionately. Geographical impacts are also important to consider since a large proportion of ethnic minorities live in areas with high mortality.
ONS data reminds us that racial deprivation and regional health disparities are caused primarily by preventable conditions. For example, cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease all of which are linked to smoking and obesity. This excess mortality is a reflection of even greater burdens from ill health, which affect the lives of families, communities, and individuals. The health, social, and economic impact of long-term illness continues to grow. As pressures on NHS costs and capacity continue to rise, and as health inequalities increase, it has never been more important to reduce the prevalence of preventable conditions.
Many factors influence ethnic differences in health. These include the environment, socioeconomic factors, where individuals live, health-related behaviors, susceptibility to disease, and access to services.
It is not possible to improve the health of all ethnic groups in a uniform way.
There is no single solution to improve the health of ethnic groups. The government, NHS England, local government leaders, and others must understand these nuanced differences. In order to improve the health of ethnic minorities, policies must be tailored according to their needs, taking into account the many factors that influence health outcomes. This includes the locality in which the community lives. It cannot achieve several of its key goals without such evidence-based methods.
Priority must be given to policies that reduce the prevalence and severity of behavioral risk factors, which are responsible for the greatest inequalities of mortality. The early detection and management of metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood glucose levels are critical to preventing the progression and onset of conditions like CVD, diabetes, and cancer.
The government, health leaders, and other stakeholders must work together to reduce the demand for healthcare, not just meet it.
The major condition strategy of the government offers an opportunity to improve the declining health and health inequalities in England. However, it requires adequate political will and resources in order to provide more effective and timely interventions in preventing and managing illness.