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Poor and ethnic minorities suffer poor health

Poorer families and minority ethnic groups in the UK have a higher risk of heart disease, cancer and earlier death, research shows.

The Race Equality Foundation commissioned Professor Gurch Randhawa to examine health equalities in the UK and come up with a plan of action.

The report has revealed vast differences in the level of health support available to black and minority ethnic groups.

Infant mortality is twice as high among minority ethnic groups in the UK than the national average.

There is also a greater likelihood of impaired development and chronic disease among poorer families.

Ethnic groups are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental illnesses.

Professor Randhawa says there are many underlying reasons for these disparities in health such as access to good housing, education, discrimination, environment and lifestyle.

"The main reasons include a lack of access to facilities and a lack of understanding and opportunity to interact with the health service," he says.

"The problem needs to be tackled, not only at government level, but through the community and voluntary sector as well."

Race Equality Foundation

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Provide money, food and water for the poor." - Name and address supplied

"Of course the poor, whether indigenous or ethnic, have poorer health. The newer generations in our family are dying at a younger age as we are getting poorer with each passing government who have done nothing for the low paid. My mother was a nurse, my father was a dental technician, and both died in their early 70s. I was widowed young and have struggled to bring up three children alone on nurses pay. Neither my three children nor myself will ever own a house, have security of tenure, and will never have the chance of a council house, as they are no longer built. We have no hope of improving ourselves in any way as our pay never improves. Increasing privatisation of our healthcare means that it is becoming a province of the well paid, with health workers working longer hours for less pay. The stress of trying to make ends meet against the uncaring machinery of government is taking its toll on our health. We have to fight for even the smallest benefit, and public servants are becoming ruder. Decent food is expensive, and we live on products that are cheap, filling and not particularly good quality. We can never afford a holiday, we have one car between the whole family, and we cannot afford for the family to join a health club." - Name and address supplied