Exploring generational differences of British ethnic minorities in smoking behavior, frequency of alcohol consumption, and dietary style

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Senhu Wang and Shuanglong Li

Publication date


Background: This article explores ethnic minority generational differences in smoking behavior, frequency of alcohol consumption, and dietary style in Britain, and whether these differences can be explained by generational differences in socioeconomic status and ethnic identity. Method: Multivariate analyses using wave 2 (2010–2012) and wave 5 (2013–2015) of the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study on smoking behavior, frequency of alcohol consumption, and dietary style from 59,189 White British, 1690 Indians, 960 Pakistanis, 555 Bangladeshis, 1060 Black Caribbeans, and 1059 Black Africans, adjusted for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status and ethnic identity. Results: While we find little evidence for generational differences in dietary style, second-generation Indians, Pakistanis, and Black Caribbeans have a significantly higher probability of smoking than the first-generation, and all second-generation minorities are significantly more likely to consume alcohol than their first-generation counterparts. Such generational differences in alcohol consumption are partly explained by second-generation minorities’ weakened ethnic identity and higher socioeconomic status. Conclusions: This study facilitates a better understanding of minority generational differences in health behaviors and the role of socioeconomic status and ethnic identity, highlighting the need for future policy interventions to target certain second-generation ethnic minorities who have adopted certain host society unhealthy lifestyles.








Drug/Alcohol Abuse, Migration, Ethnic Groups, Health and Social Stratification


Open Access; This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).