Disparities in Children's Health and Development: The Importance of Race / Ethnicity in the UK and US - ESRC/NIH Health Disparities

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Epidemiology and Public Health

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications


10 25 50
 
Description Our work has made significant contributions to scientific research, and continues to be widely disseminated with 10 journal articles, 32 conference presentations/invited talks, a blog (http://childofourtimeblog.org.uk/) with over 4000 page views in the last 6 months and 600 twitter followers (@childofourtime), and to the building of noteworthy collaborations (Manchester, UK; Melbourne, Australia) and a partnership with the Race Equality Foundation, UK.

Early life experiences have an impact on health and wellbeing throughout the lifecourse. In the context of ethnic/racial inequalities in healthy development, our broad aim was to identify factors that could potentially be intervened on to improve children's life chances. Specifically, we examined how mixed heritage and experiences of racism shape children's development, and the ways in which social context, helps explain observed inequalities. We looked at indicators of health and development including risk of obesity, socioemotional difficulties and cognitive skills from thousands of children growing up in the UK and US. Cross-country comparative work has the potential to identify leverage points, as despite the cultural similarities between the UK and US there are pertinent differences in migration histories, ethnic/racial relations and social systems. Selected highlights of research findings:

Are children from ethnic/racial minority groups more likely to have unhealthy weights?
- On average, 5-year-olds from Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African groups in the UK, and Mexican and Native American groups in the US had higher BMI and were at increased risk of obesity. Explanations for these observations varied - the risk of obesity for UK Bangladeshi, US Mexican and Native American groups were due to socioeconomic circumstances, whilst a combination of socioeconomic and behavioural factors explained the UK Black Caribbean and African disadvantage (Zilanawala et al 2014).
- Across childhood (age 3 through to 11) children from Indian, Pakistani, Black Caribbean and African groups were disproportionately likely to be on 'unhealthy' BMI trajectories (Kelly et al forthcoming).

Is mixed heritage linked to increased socioemotional difficulties?
- Mixed ethnicity was linked to more socioemotional difficulties among 5 year olds from some UK minority groups, but there were no differences at the same age for mixed race Americans. Observed inequalities for British Black Caribbean mixed and Pakistani mixed children compared with their white counterparts were largely explained by socioeconomic disadvantage (Nazroo et al forthcoming).
- Across childhood, compared with their non-mixed peers Pakistani-mixed and Bangladeshi-mixed early adolescents had more socioemotional problems (Zilanawala et al forthcoming).

Are children from minority groups more likely labelled as having problem behaviours by their teachers?
Comparing teacher and mother ratings we found that UK Black African and African American children were disproportionately labelled by their teachers as having externalising behaviours, including inattention/hyperactivity and conduct problems (Waller et al forthcoming).

What are the links between experienced racism and children's development?
Mothers' experience of racism was linked to socioemotional development in early childhood (Kelly et al 2013), and longitudinal analysis revealed that these experiences of racism in early life had detrimental impacts on socioemotional development into early adolescence (Becares et al 2015).
Exploitation Route Our findings have stimulated further lines of academic enquiry which we (and other researchers) will pursue within collaborations, including those which have developed as a result of this research project.

We have reached non-academic audiences in a number of ways, via: policy briefings (including DH and PHE); our ongoing involvement with the all Party Parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood which seeks to influence government on a range of issues around children's healthy development; upcoming meetings (Manchester December 2015 and Sheffield January 2016) which have a focus on policy and practice; the Child of our Time Blog www.childofourtimeblog.org.uk. Findings from this project feature in 10 blog outputs, including:
Can racism towards a mum hurt her children
Ethnicity, birthweight and growth in early childhood
How well are the kids talking
What are the links between ethnicity and mental health?
Understanding ethnicity in the battle against obesity
How racism can damage our children's development
Racism rise would be bad for the kids
An associated Twitter account @childofourtime shares the blog content, followers include: young people's charities and groups, campaigners and activists, health and education practitioners, professional bodies, journalists and bloggers, think tanks and policy focused groups/organisations.

This accessible resource enhances and complements the range of outputs outlined in this report and substantially increases the potential of the research to have impact now and in the future.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
URL http://www.childofourtimeblog.org.uk
 
Description Davis-Kean P E. Are we so different? A cross-cultural perspective on child development. Value and Use of Cohort Studies for Social Investigation and Policy Making. London, UK, November 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards


Unaware of any.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Kelly Y. A picture of youth. UCL, London, 21st April 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.

Unaware of any.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Kelly Y. Race/Ethnic Disparities in Early Childhood BMI, Obesity and Overweight in the UK and US. Public Health England, 6th November 2014. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.


Unaware of any.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Kelly Y. Social Determinants of Children's Health: The Importance of a Good Start in Life. Social Determinants of Health - Investigating inequalities, research gaps and best practice. Cumberland Lodge 27th January 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.


Unaware of any.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description 4. Ethnicity and markers of physical development in early childhood. Ethnic inequalities in child health - focus on policy workshop, University of Manchester, 3rd December 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Talked sparked discussion and plans for as policy briefing note to be jointly produced with colleagues from the University of Manchester.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Child of our Time 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The blog (http://childofourtimeblog.org.uk/ with over 16000 unique users, 78000 page views) and associated Twitter feed (@childofourtime with over 800 twitter followers) were initially established at the end of 2014, primarily as a vehicle to showcase the research and share the findings from the ESRC ethnicity and child health development project. The blog includes a mix of articles, podcasts and slideshows.The associated Twitter account was established to help promote the blog as widely as possible. The blog also has its own podcast series (audio interviews with researchers about their research) which as well as being accessible on the blog, can be subscribed to on iTunes.
The blog is updated around twice a month with articles, podcasts and presentations from policy seminars and conferences. Recent
Twitter Followers include WHO Urban Health, an MEP, an employee of the Govt Statistical Service, the director of Barnardos Scotland, a Public Health Director, an education journalist, a school nurse, a Social Policy Group, the charity Children 1st.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://childofourtimeblog.org.uk/
 
Description Davis-Kean P E, Jager J, Maslowsky J. Answering your Developmental Questions using Secondary Data. SRCD Developmental Methods Conference, San Diego CA. September 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.


Unaware of any.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Kelly Y. Biological transitions: Behavioural-cultural social exposures. Goodenough College, London, May 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards and led to collaborative work with international academics.


On going collaboration with an international team of academics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Kelly Y. Family stress and the health of children. How to improve children's health: putting research into practice, Cumberland Lodge, 26th January 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Unexpectedly withdrew

Unaware of any
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Kelly Y. Inequalities in child health and development. Department of Health, London, February 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussions afterward lead to collaborative work with Public Health England (PHE).

On going collaboration with PHE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities impact evaluation - initial findings. Race Equality Foundation, London, 8th March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talked provided information about on-going research, sparked discussion and cemented on-going dialogue with The Race Equality Foundation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk (NIH 2015) Enduring legacy of stress in childhood. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, 17th June 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion and identified potential future collaborators

Unaware of any
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description The influence of experienced racism and mixed ethnic identity on children's healthy development. Racism, ethnic identity and child development, InstEAD, University of Sheffield, 26th January 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://instead.group.shef.ac.uk/events/workshop-racism-ethnic-identity-and-child-development/