‘Life expectancy in UK lowest in mixed ethnic and White groups’
(Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)
BANGLADESHI women and Asian men have among the longest life spans in the UK, data has shown.
A survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that people from mixed ethnic and white groups had lower life expectancy when compared to Black and Asian groups when data between 2011 and 2014 was studied.
Findings released on Monday (26) found that white and mixed ethnic women had a life expectancy of 83.1 years, while for black African women the figure was 88.9.
Bangladeshi women had a life expectancy of 87.3 years; for Indian women the figure was 85.4 years and 82.3 years for men.
Among Pakistanis, the corresponding figures were 84.8 years and 82.3 years, respectively. Black African women could expect to live to 88.9 years and men, 83.8; for black Caribbeans, the figures were 84.6 years and 80.7 years, respectively.
White people were more likely to die of cancer than their black or Asian counterparts, according to the ONS data analysis, while heart disease mortality was found to be highest in the Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Indians.
Julie Stanborough, deputy director health analysis and life events, said, “Today’s new experimental data show that between 2011 and 2014 people of white and mixed ethnic groups had lower life expectancy at birth than all other ethnic groups, with the black African group having significantly higher life expectancy than most other groups.
“It also found the white ethnic group were more likely to die of cancer than their black or Asian counterparts, while for both sexes, ischaemic heart disease mortality was highest in the Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian groups.
“Further research is required to investigate the reasons for the differences. However, these results reveal important patterns in life expectancy and mortality by ethnic group which are complex, but nevertheless consistent with most previous studies.”
Dr Veena Raleigh, a senior fellow at the King’s Fund thinktank told the Guardian one key reason for higher life expectancy among ethnic minorities is the so-called “healthy migrant effect”.
She cited evidence that migrants tend to be healthier, due to lower levels of smoking, alcohol consumption and other risk factors. However, she cautioned that this effect diminished over time as successive generations tend to assume lifestyles similar to native populations.
“So, there are ethnic differences in health, but we need to be very precise in knowing what the data is showing, and targeting the specific factors affecting health in specific groups,” she said.
“It’s a kaleidoscope … and you need a magnifying glass to identify what the problems are, why they’re occurring, and how they should be addressed.”
Males in the Bangladeshi, Indian and mixed ethnic groups had statistically significantly higher mortality rates from circulatory diseases than males in the white ethnic group and most other groups, according to the ONS.
Females in the Pakistani ethnic group had the highest mortality rate from circulatory diseases, followed by those in the mixed, Indian and Black Caribbean groups. Diabetes mortality was lowest among those in the white ethnic group, while the highest rates were observed in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups for each sex and the black Caribbean ethnic group for females.
Cancer mortality was lowest among males in the Indian and Asian other ethnic groups. Females in the white ethnic group had a significantly higher mortality rate from cancer than females in all other ethnic groups, while females in the Pakistani, Indian and Asian other ethnic groups had the lowest rates, the ONS survey found.