Being born in the USA may not be good for Hispanic health
USC study finds immigrants from Mexico in better health than Mexicans-Americans born in the United States. Hardy immigrants mask poor vital signs of American-born Hispanic community, say researchers.
Mexicans-Americans born and raised in the United States are more likely to suffer from conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol than those who emigrate from Mexico, according to a new study from the University of Southern California.
The difference may be due to poor nutrition and less physical activity among native-born Mexican-Americans. Also individuals who leave Mexico for the United States may be fitter than the ones who stay behind.
"One possible explanation is that people who immigrate are healthy to begin with and they may also have come here with better health habits," said Eileen Crimmins, lead author of the study and professor of gerontology at USC. "The generation born here has adopted American traits such as smoking and eating at fast food restaurants that were not as accessible in more traditional parts of Mexico."
In a comparison of risk factors across ethnic groups, researchers from the USC Davis School of Gerontology and the UCLA School of Medicine found that U.S. born Mexican-Americans are significantly worse off not just than whites but also Mexican-born immigrants. The only group at greater risk for disease than the U.S.-born Mexican-American community is the black population.
The research appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health and addresses a contradiction found in other studies known as the "Hispanic Paradox"