The emergence of common health conditions across the life course: evidence from the Born in Bradford family cohort

Publication authors

Gillian Santorelli, Dan Lewer, Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar, Siang Ing Lee, Katherine Phillips, Rosemary R.C. McEachan, John Wright



Born in Bradford (BiB) is a family cohort study with linked routine health records. We calculated the rates of common health conditions and explored differences between White European and South Asian participants.


21 health conditions were identified using diagnostic codes and prescription records extracted from electronic health records. Period prevalence of each condition was calculated for the two years before recruitment, and incidence rates per 1000 person years were calculated from recruitment to BiB to the end of 2021, or earlier if censored. Age-adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) between ethnic groups.


The sample included 9,784 mothers, 52% of whom were of South Asian heritage and 48% were White European. The highest prevalence and incidence rates were observed for common mental health disorders and eczema. We found evidence that South Asian women had higher incidence of 14/21 conditions, including diabetes (HR 3.94 [95% CI 3.15, 4.94]), chronic liver disease (2.98 [2.29, 3.88]) and thyroid disorders (1.87 [1.50, 2.33]), and had lower incidence of cancer (0.51 [0.38, 0.68]), other and common mental health disorders (0.56 [0.45, 0.71] and 0.69 [0.64, 0.74] respectively), and other neuromuscular conditions (0.63 [0.49, 0.82]).


We report differences in several non-communicable health conditions between White European and South Asian women. The higher rates of some health conditions observed in South Asian participants may be explained by social, cultural, lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors and highlights the importance of understanding and addressing these factors to reduce health inequalities. It is already known that the risk of some diseases, e.g., diabetes, is associated with South Asian ethnicity and these results reinforce the need for culturally appropriate public health interventions to address modifiable risk factors at both an individual and systems level to reduce the burden of long-term health conditions.