Why Race and Ethnicity matter to health

Race and ethnicity affect people's health in a number of ways. Our ethnic background can affect our susceptibility to certain diseases and conditions. There is also a clear link between discrimination and health and implications for the way in which health services should be provided.

For example:

  1. People of African origin formed just over 5% of the minority ethnic population in Scotland in 2001, but represented 33% of the psychiatric patients in hospitals who were from ethnic minorities.

  2. Female service users from several minority ethnic groups have strong preferences for dealing with only female health care staff. Gender issues can play an important factor in the uptake of services.

  3. A survey on psychiatric illness rates amongst ethnic minorities found that depression was most common among Indian and Pakistani people.


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