Jennifer Levy, Donna Ansara, and Andi Stover

Publication date:
10-01-2013

Last Reviewed: 02-03-2014

Racialization and Health Inequities in Toronto


Source: Toronto Public Health

Summary:
The objectives of this report are to increase understanding of the impact of racialization on health inequities in the Toronto context; to identify data and research gaps; and to inform service design and policy advocacy.

The report presents analyses that examined whether there were racialized disparities across a number of health outcomes. This analysis was limited to indicators for which there was sufficient Toronto-level data that could be disaggregated by racialized group: self-rated health, overweight or obesity, pain or discomfort, high blood pressure, self-rated mental health, and depressive symptoms. Self-Rated Health – There were no differences in self-rated health between racialized and non-racialized groups. Overweight or Obesity – Compared to non-racialized group members, people who identified as East/Southeast Asian were less likely to report being overweight or obese. People who identified as Black were more likely to report being overweight or obese. Pain or Discomfort – People who identified as Black were more likely to report pain or discomfort than the non-racialized group. High Blood Pressure – People who identified as Black or Latin American/Multiple/Other were more likely to have high blood pressure compared to the non-racialized group. Mental Health – There were no differences between racialized and non-racialized groups on self-rated mental health or depressive symptoms. The findings regarding the relationship between racialized group and health outcomes showed racialized inequities for members of some racialized groups on a number of health outcomes, but did not find poorer health outcomes on other indicators. This is consistent with Canadian and international literature that does not show differences in all health outcomes between racialized and non-racialized groups. Canadian evidence on differences in mortality rates between racialized and non-racialized groups is limited to one study, which did not find an association between racialized group and age-standardized mortality rates. Racialization has not consistently been associated with poorer self-rated health. However, chronic diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes have been found to be significantly higher among some racialized groups. There has been extremely limited Canadian research on the mental health outcomes of non-immigrant racialized group members and it would be premature to make any generalizations.While better data and more research are needed to provide a more comprehensive understanding of racialization and health inequities, what is known warrants action to reduce the prevalence of racism, reduce racialized socioeconomic disparities, and address emerging evidence of racialized health inequities.

Link 1: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-62904.pdf

Theme: Multiculturalism and Equality

Region: Canada

Subject Group: Immigrants, Refugees