Holder, Sharon M.
Health inequalities amongst older people from ethnic minority groups in Britain: ‘sensitivity’ of different ses measures.
University of Southampton, Social Sciences,
The United Kingdom (UK) ethnic population is ageing. However, there has been a dearth of research focussing on the ethnic diversity of the older population and the implications for health and health care needs. In fact ‘ageing’ and ‘ethnicity’ are rarely integrated within health research. According to the United Kingdom (UK) 2001 Census, there are over 4.6 million individuals belonging to minority ethnic groups, with a quarter million aged 50 years or over. The ageing of these communities over the next two decades places greater emphasis on the importance of empirical evidence on their health status and the policy implications for health and health care needs. This thesis contributes to our understanding of health, socio-economic status (SES), ethnicity and ageing. The research explores the ‘sensitivity’ of different measures and their appropriateness and validity in assessing health inequalities amongst ethnic minority groups in order to better understand health inequalities in later life. This is a critical issue with widespread policy implications. Using cross-sectional data from Health Survey for England (HSE), with a sample size of 5,086 men and women 50 years and older, different logistic regression models are run for the outcome variables general health and limiting long-standing illness in order to ascertain the ‘sensitivity’ of SES of the different measures of health amongst the different ethnic minority groups. The results suggest that older people from ethnic minority groups are more likely to report bad/very bad’ health compared with the White population. For example, amongst Black Africans the odds of reporting ‘bad/very bad’ health are 1.45 times the odds amongst Whites, amongst Pakistanis the equivalent odds are 1.69 times the odds amongst Whites, amongst Bangladeshi the odds are 2.34 times the odds of Whites, and amongst Chinese people the odds are 2.53 times the odds of Whites. There are distinct patterns in reporting ‘bad/very bad’ health and a LLSI amongst and between ethnic minority men and women aged 50 and over based on SES measures employed in the study. Additionally, behavioural risk factors, that is, smoking and alcohol consumption were significant predictors of reporting ‘bad/very bad’ health and LLSI. Health inequalities have important implications for policy, particularly for health and health care. The research findings would be useful in informing national policies (e.g. health promotion campaigns, housing, occupationally based services, culturally competent health care services) and locally based interventions (e.g. health campaigns for older men and women; health education) would be better targeted at ethnic minority groups of older men and women
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