Understanding Relationships between Health, Ethnicity, Place and the Role of Urban Green Space in Deprived Urban Communities

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Jul 5;13(7):681. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13070681.


Very little is known about how differences in use and perceptions of urban green space impact on the general health of black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. BME groups in the UK suffer from poorer health and a wide range of environmental inequalities that include poorer access to urban green space and poorer quality of green space provision. This study used a household questionnaire (n = 523) to explore the relationship between general health and a range of individual, social and physical environmental predictors in deprived white British and BME groups living in ethnically diverse cities in England. Results from Chi-Squared Automatic Interaction Detection (CHAID) segmentation analyses identified three distinct general health segments in our sample ranging from "very good" health (people of Indian origin), to "good" health (white British), and "poor" health (people of African-Caribbean, Bangladeshi, Pakistani origin and other BME groups), labelled "Mixed BME" in the analyses. Correlated Component Regression analyses explored predictors of general health for each group. Common predictors of general health across all groups were age, disability, and levels of physical activity. However, social and environmental predictors of general health-including use and perceptions of urban green space-varied among the three groups. For white British people, social characteristics of place (i.e., place belonging, levels of neighbourhood trust, loneliness) ranked most highly as predictors of general health, whilst the quality of, access to and the use of urban green space was a significant predictor of general health for the poorest health group only, i.e., in "Mixed BME". Results are discussed from the perspective of differences in use and perceptions of urban green space amongst ethnic groups. We conclude that health and recreation policy in the UK needs to give greater attention to the provision of local green space amongst poor BME communities since this can play an important role in helping address the health inequalities experienced by these groups.

Keywords: ethnicity; general health; health behaviour; neighbourhood; physical activity; poverty; social environment; urban green space.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cities*
  • Continental Population Groups
  • England
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Loneliness
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parks, Recreational*
  • Recreation*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires