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Fear of racism and health
  1. Saffron Karlsen,
  2. James Yzet Nazroo
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms S Karlsen
 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1–19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK;

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A recent editorial stated that “the lack of a concerted research and public health effort means that in the United Kingdom the science of investigating the effects of racism on health and the development of preventive strategies are in their infancy”.1 Part of the evidence for this lack of effort can be seen in the lack of data available with which to explore these issues. While there is a growing literature from the United States that has found evidence for an association between experiences of racism and health,2 this lack of empirical evidence has meant that our understanding of the situation in the UK lags behind.

McKenzie comments that “racism can manifest as individual or group acts and attitudes or institutional processes that lead to disparities”.1 In an earlier paper, we have shown that there is evidence to suggest that experience of interpersonal and institutional racism may have independent effects on the health, measured in a variety of ways, of people from ethnic minority groups in the UK.3 The pathway along which racism influences health may involve less …

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  • * Respondents were allocated into an ethnic group on the basis of their family origins, a measure that had close correlation with a question very similar to that used in the 1991 British census.

  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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