The Impact of Ethnicity on Health Outcomes

The impact on ethnicity on health outcomes is recognised as a major issue in recent years. Despite huge development and innovation in healthcare system, people belonging to minority ethnic group, receive poorer health facilities than the rest of the population. This essay is going to discuss the impact of ethnicity on health outcomes by using example of health inequalities faced by the South Asian community in the UK. In addition to this the essay will also critically analyse that how this issue can be eliminated from society to promote positive health outcomes.

In broader sense, ethnicity can be referred as identification of a population based on its social, cultural and historical variation (Chase et al. 2020). Recent studies have stated that ethnic group is characterised by some definite boundaries such as country of origin, language and religion. In modern era, although there is apparent improvement as well as modification of entre healthcare system, minority ethnic community in a country still face adverse health outcomes as a result of high level of discrimination and bias regarding delivery of healthcare facilities. For example, UK is reported to have ever-increasing rate of mortality and morbidity in people belonging to minority ethnic community such as South Asian, Asian and African people. As mentioned by Kim, Jen & Fredriksen-Goldsen (2017), minority ethnic community in a country get ill-treatment from majority of healthcare professionals and health staffs which not only makes it difficult for them to get the health support that they actually need, but also poses adverse impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. Although UK has uniform and free healthcare system for all its citizens in which NHS ( National Health Service) provides healthcare service to countrymen, many people belonging to minority ethnic community such as people coming from South Asia and Asia face huge difficulties in receiving the quality care and medical facilities from NHS staffs as well as healthcare professionals. As mentioned by Ma, Sanchez & Ma (2019), unequal distribution of healthcare resources based on the nationality and ethnicity enhances health risk of minority ethnic group. From recent healthcare report of World Health Organisation (WHO), it is seen that, in UK, majority of the South Asian people are highly prevalent to many chronic diseases such as cardio-vascular disease, pulmonary disease, respiratory disease and cancer. As stated by Karlsen, Roth & Bécares (2019), the reason behind prevalence of chronic disease in minority ethnic community is lower healthcare facilities are provided to them by healthcare officials.


While it comes to discuss the impact of ethnicity on health outcomes, it is important to mention the factors that are associated with these adverse health outcomes. As mentioned by Sozener et al. (2017), several factors are responsible for adverse health outcomes in case of minority ethnic community, which are geographical, social, cultural, socio-economic and financial factors. Geographical aspects are strongly associated with healthcare facilities provided to the society people. For example, London has highest health disparities that affects adversely the south Asian and Asian community residing over there. In this context Valencia, Garcia & Morton (2019) mentioned that, ethnic people residing in rural and interior region of a country or states, have higher risk of mortality and morbidity than the ethnic group residing in city and metropolitan areas due to get comparatively more healthcare advantages. For example, in the UK, there are many South Asian people residing in rural and suburban region of London, who are more prevalent to chronic disease and mortality than the South Asians who reside in cities. Social and cultural variations are also associated with health inequalities faced by minor ethnic community in a country. Evidences based studies have shown that, in the UK, minority ethnic group such as South Asian community faces huge discrimination, abuse, bullying while receiving the healthcare facilities due to their different cultural and social values. The report published by WHO has mentioned that, many South Asian people are reported to have ill-treatment, abuse and bullying by NHS staffs and ward befriender, which not only promote adverse healthcare outcomes but also pose adverse impact on emotional and psychological wellbeing on these people. As argued by Bartick et al. (2017), not only the cultural and geographical factors, but also socio-economic condition of minority ethnic community is strongly associated with adverse health outcomes they experience. It is evident that, majority of people belonging to the minority ethnic community are common suffers of poor job opportunities, which lead to deterioration of their socio-economic condition. UK is reported to have higher number of unemployed people in community out of which majority are belonging to the minor ethnic group. Poor socio-economic condition of minority ethnic group, makes it difficult for them to grab high class healthcare facilities and modern treatment process. In this context Paine et al. (2019) argued that, it is not necessary that minor ethnic group will always have the poor socio-economic condition, rather in many cases minority ethnic community has faced poorer healthcare support from heath care professionals despite having strong financial condition. For example, in the UK, there are many South Asian people who despite working in multinational companies are reported to have below-standard healthcare facilities from NHS hospitals only due to the fact that they are non-UK origin citizens

Therefore, from overall discussion it can be stated that ethnicity has strong association with poor health outcomes. In terms of eliminating discrimination and bias faced by minor ethnic community regarding getting proper healthcare facilities, it is important to make relevant reformation of health and social care legislations by government which will protect the rights of each citizen for grabbing equal and quality healthcare facilities. In addition to this, the government needs to make strict legal obligations on every healthcare professional as well as staff to provide equal healthcare service and care to people regardless of their ethnicity, gender, body colour and race. For making positive transformation of healthcare outcomes in case of minor ethnic community, the government needs to take proper initiatives to not only assure the quality as well as equal healthcare to them , but also provide relevant job opportunities to the minority people in terms of improving the socio-economic condition, that will assist them to afford high-quality healthcare facilities. Additionally, it is also the responsibility of the healthcare providers and society in a country to improve their thoughts and behaviour towards minority ethnic community in terms of providing better healthcare and social support to them for reducing chances of mortality and morbidity in these communities.

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Reference list:

Bartick, M. C., Jegier, B. J., Green, B. D., Schwarz, E. B., Reinhold, A. G., & Stuebe, A. M. (2017). Disparities in breastfeeding: impact on maternal and child health outcomes and costs. The Journal of Pediatrics, 181, 49-55.

Chase, J. A. D., Russell, D., Huang, L., Hanlon, A., O’Connor, M., & Bowles, K. H. (2020). Relationships between race/ethnicity and health care utilization among older post-acute home health care patients. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 39(2), 201-213.

Eichen, D. M., Rhee, K. E., Strong, D. R., & Boutelle, K. N. (2020). Impact of Race and Ethnicity on Weight-Loss Outcomes in Pediatric Family-Based Obesity Treatment. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 1-7.

Karlsen, S., Roth, M., & Bécares, L. (2019). of ethnicity on health. Understanding ‘race’and ethnicity 2e: Theory, history, policy, practice, 159.

Kim, H. J., Jen, S., & Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I. (2017). Race/ethnicity and health-related quality of life among LGBT older adults. The Gerontologist, 57(suppl_1), S30-S39.

Ma, A., Sanchez, A., & Ma, M. (2019). The impact of patient-provider race/ethnicity concordance on provider visits: updated evidence from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 6(5), 1011-1020.

Paine, S. J., Harris, R., Cormack, D., & Stanley, J. (2019). Self-reported sleep complaints are associated with adverse health outcomes: cross-sectional analysis of the 2002/03 New Zealand Health Survey. Ethnicity & health, 24(1), 44-56.

Ponce, S. G., Norris, J., Dodendorf, D., Martinez, M., Cox, B., & Laskey, W. (2018). Impact of ethnicity, sex, and socio-economic status on the risk for heart failure readmission: the importance of context. Ethnicity & disease, 28(2), 99.

Sozener, C. B., Brown, D. L., Jiang, X., Li, C., Case, E., Garcia, N. M., & Lisabeth, L. D. (2017). Abstract WP308: Impact of Ethnicity on Access to Sleep Apnea Screening and Testing In Stroke Survivors. Stroke, 48(suppl_1), AWP308-AWP308.

Valencia, A., Garcia, L. C., & Morton, J. (2019). The impact of ethnicity on metabolic outcomes after bariatric surgery. Journal of Surgical Research, 236, 345-351.

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