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Alcohol use in South Asians in the UK

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 20 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4028
  1. Gurprit Pannu, consultant psychiatrist1,
  2. Shahid Zaman, consultant psychiatrist2,
  3. Neeraj Bhala, MRC research fellow3,
  4. Rashid Zaman, consultant psychiatrist4
  1. 1Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Swandean, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3EP
  2. 2Princess of Wales Hospital, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 1DN
  3. 3Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF
  4. 4Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QQ

    Is under-recognised, and alcohol related harm is disproportionately high

    Ethnic minorities make up almost 8% of the population in the United Kingdom, yet their contribution to the cost of alcohol related harm, estimated at £20bn (€22bn; $32bn) a year,1 is not widely known. This has led to public health policies based on incorrect assumptions.

    The evidence base is limited, but if place of birth is used as a proxy for ethnicity, alcohol related mortality in England and Wales is about the national average for Eastern European men and women, Sri Lankan men, and East African men, whereas men and women born in the Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, and the West Indies and women born in India, Sri Lanka, and East Africa have lower mortality. Mortality is particularly high in Irish and Scottish people as well as in Indian men.2

    Alcohol consumption in Irish and Scottish people is high,2 so it is not surprising …

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