Childhood obesity among Britain’s South Asian population is a future health time bomb, according to an NHS Evidence update on ethnicity and health.

Dr Deborah Bird and Dr Monica Lakhanpaul from Leicester University also report that Asian adults are six times as likely to suffer from diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity.

The update goes on to note that cancer, mental health and response to drugs therapy among ethnic minority populations also represent major challenges for the health service.

A commentary on cancer from Paula Lloyd at the National Cancer Action Team points out that 30 years after collection of ethnic monitoring data was initiated by the NHS, the first analysis of cancer by ethnicity has been undertaken in England, confirming increased rates in specific ethnic minority groups.

In a report on mental health inequalities, Professor Kam Bhui at the Centre for Psychiatry, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, said the challenge is how best to make use of evidence on ethnicity and mental health to guard against increased inequalities.

The NHS Evidence ethnicity and health collection is based at Warwick University and run in collaboration with De Montfort University.