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Musculoskeletal conditions and Black, Asian and minority ethnic people: addressing health inequalities

This project was commissioned and funded by Public Health England through the Department of Health and Social Care’s Health and Wellbeing Alliance and was in partnership with Faith Action. It included a literature review, focus groups, qualitative interviews and events to bring together the evidence and promote solutions to the inequalities we found.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are one of the most common conditions affecting people around the world and a leading cause of disability, according to the Global Burden of Health report (GBD, 2017). Some Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK are disproportionately represented due to the risk factors for musculoskeletal conditions, such as levels of physical inactivity (Cabinet Office, 2019), Vitamin D deficiency (Uday and Högler 2018), poverty (Cabinet Office, 2018), socio-economic factors, working in manual occupations (Cabinet Office, 2020), and pre-existing long-term conditions such as diabetes (BHF, 2020).

Staff from the Foundation worked with academics from the University of Bedfordshire to conduct a scoping literature review. The evidence (Ali and Abdy, 2020) we found shows that black and minority ethnic people are more likely to have some conditions, such as lupus and sickle cell disease, and have poorer experience of services. We also found some examples and suggestions of better practice, such as targeted and supported lifestyle interventions, better communication and a reduced dependence on medication.

We summarised the findings of the focus group interviews into a series of infographics bringing together the literature review and qualitative findings: MSK and Racial Health Inequalities Infographic.

Read the full report here.

Read the literature review here.