BME Groups

BME Groups

A number of reasons have been identified for why a general approach to increasing physical activity levels and improving nutrition, in black and ethnic minority groups, is not the most effective. With this in mind this section of the website aims to provide you with information relating to nutrition and physical activity in black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, as a focus on targeted strategies.
From this section of the website you can access information relating to data and surveys, initiatives, key resources and useful links.
This briefing paper provides an overview of the health profile, dietary habits and other health behaviours of the three largest non-white minority ethnic groups in the UK, explores the factors affecting their food choices, provides a summary of their traditional diets and reviews the evidence base to identify the factors that support successful nutrition interventions in these groups.

Data, Research and Surveys

The British Heart Foundation draws on data from the 1990’s and states that South Asians living in the UK (Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans), have a higher premature death rate from Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) than average. They also show that premature death rates from CHD for people born in the Caribbean and West Africa were much lower than average.
National Centre for Social Research (2006) Health Survey for England 2004:Health of Ethnic Minorities  is an annual survey of the health of the population, the focus of the 2004 report is on the health of minority ethnic groups with an emphasis on cardiovascular disease (CVD).
It showed that
  • after adjusting for age, doctor-diagnosed diabetes was almost four times as prevalent in Bangladeshi men and almost three times as prevalent in Pakistani and Indian men as in men in the general population
  • doctor-diagnosed diabetes was more than five times as likely among Pakistani women, at least three times as likely in Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean women, and two-and-a-half times as likely in Indian women compared with women in the general population
  • black African boys were more likely to be obese than boys in the general population (31 per cent and 16 per cent respectively). Otherwise the prevalence of obesity was similar among all groups.
How can health promotion interventions be adapted for minority ethnic communities? Five principles for guiding the development of behavioural interventions
Netto, G., Bhopal, R., Lederle, N., Khatoon, J. and Jackson, A. (2010) Health Promotion International 2010 25(2):248-257
Understanding of strategies for adapting behavioural interventions adapted for minority ethnic communities is limited. A systematic review was carried out to investigate interventions for preventing CHD, including promoting physical activity, smoking cessation and healthier diets in Pakistani, Chinese and Indian communities in countries where these groups are minorities. Five principles for adapting behavioural interventions for minority ethnic communities were identified: (i) use community resources to publicize the intervention and increase accessibility; (ii) identify and address barriers to access and participation; (iii) develop communication strategies which are sensitive to language use and information requirements; (iv) work with cultural or religious values that either promote or hinder behavioural change; and (v) accommodate varying degrees of cultural identification. While the principles require further testing and verification, they have been generated through a systematic approach to study identification, quality appraisal and data synthesis.


FSA Publish Review of Dietary Interventions in Black and Minority Ethnic Groups

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) Wales has published a review of dietary interventions in black and minority ethnic (BME) groups across the UK.

The review contains information about BME communities in Wales, including literacy levels, languages understood, diet-related health and food and nutrient intakes. Furthermore it appraises evaluated UK dietary interventions targeting BME groups and research identified in the published literature. Six recommendations for future dietary interventions in BME groups around evaluation are given and FSA Wales is currently considering how to take the recommendations forward.

For more information visit

MEWN Cymru Mentro Allan Project  – Changing Lifestyles aimed to increase activity levels amongst the hard to reach/sedentary BME women from Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. The project helped to develop and support programmes that increase opportunities for individuals and groups to access health enhancing physical activity in the outdoor environment.

Newport Get Cooking

A DVD has been produced demonstrating a basic cookery skills course involving refugees and older people from Newport. The refugees learnt how to cook basic healthy British food and were tutored by a group of senior volunteers. The DVD shows how key health messages were promoted through the cookery skills course by reducing the fat and salt content in recipes and including plenty of fruit and vegetables with meals. In addition it highlights how the course promoted community cohesion and reduced the social isolation faced by those involved. For more information or to obtain a copy of the DVD contact Clayton O’Keefe Communities First Development Worker Stowhill on email [email protected] or telephone 01633 243303.

Key Resources

Please find below a list of key resources relating to nutrition and physical activity for BME Groups. For more resources please visit the Nutrition Network for Wales Resources Database.
A new leaflet has been published by Diabetes UK, which looks at how to manage Type 2 diabetes. Living with diabetes: Saleebaan’s story is based on Somali story telling traditions, and follows a young Somali man as he finds out more about his diabetes, and talks to his family and friends about it. It is intended for use in groups with two Somali speaking facilitators and is available in both Somali and English. For more information telephone 029 2066 8276.
Healthy Lifestyle, Fasting and Diabetes  – is a fact sheet produced by Diabetes UK. It provides practical advice and information on healthy eating, physical activity and fasting for people with diabetes. This resource is available in a range of languages including Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and others.

Useful Links