Health inequalities between the ethnic majority and minority communities in the UK have implications for the care and protection of children. Public Health England (2017), which collated and analysed national-level data, found that premature mortality rates were higher than average among males born in the Accession States to the EU, the majority of which are former Communist countries such as Poland and Romania. The difference in healthy life expectancy at birth (i.e. the length of time a person has good health) between the most deprived and least deprived areas of England is 20 years. As people from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to live in deprived areas, this means that on average they are disproportionately more likely to experience poor health earlier in their lives than their counterparts resident in affluent areas. Infant mortality is highest among families of Pakistani, Black African and Black Caribbean heritage, although rates among those of Bangladeshi and Indian background are similar to those among the White English majority. Notably, the infant mortality rate in the most deprived areas of England is twice that of the least deprived areas. While there are higher rates of smoking (a major cause of morbidity) in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived, religious affiliation is a significant determinant of the probability of being a smoker. Those stating that they had no religion were much more likely to smoke than those who had a religious faith. Those identifying as Jewish, Hindu and Sikh were much less likely to smoke than the English population average.
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