Ethnic inequalities in limiting health and self-reported health in later life revisited

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

July 15, 2016


Background: It is well established that there are ethnic inequalities in health in the UK; however, such inequalities in later life remain a relatively under-researched area. This paper explores ethnic inequalities in health among older people in the UK, controlling for social and economic disadvantages.Methods: This paper analyses the first wave (2009–2011) of Understanding Society to examine differentials in the health of older persons aged 60 years and over. 2 health outcomes are explored: the extent to which one's health limits the ability to undertake typical activities and self-rated health. Logistic regression models are used to control for a range of other factors, including income and deprivation.Results: After controlling for social and economic disadvantage, black and minority ethnic (BME) elders are still more likely than white British elders to report limiting health and poor self-rated health. The ‘health disadvantage’ appears most marked among BME elders of South Asian origin, with Pakistani elders exhibiting the poorest health outcomes. Length of time resident in the UK does not have a direct impact on health in models for both genders, but is marginally significant for women.Conclusions: Older people from ethnic minorities report poorer health outcomes even after controlling for social and economic disadvantages. This result reflects the complexity of health inequalities among different ethnic groups in the UK, and the need to develop health policies which take into account differences in social and economic resources between different ethnic groups.

Published in

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 70 , p.653 -662






Open Access article

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:



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