Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hispanic Paradox Refuted by a Pair of Docs

news you may not knowIs That A Good Thing?

Yes, the "pair of docs" is an old and cheap ploy. But, what about the Hispanic Paradox itself? Well, if you are late to the game, you may be out of luck. A new study refutes the paradox and, wanting hard science on your side, you'll need to dig a bit deeper for water-cooler trivia.

The Hispanic Paradox, widely accepted until now, suggests that Hispanics living in the United States are healthier than their white counterparts. This was believed to be the case despite their lower levels of education and earnings. But, researchers at USC and UCLA are now saying, "Not so fast, amigo."

Their study, based upon data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey, found that Mexican-born immigrants are indeed as healthy as whites. But, for Mexican-Americans born in the United States the story is less hopeful. Hispanics born north of the border are a sickly lot - they fall well behind not only white Americans, but those Hispanics who began their life's journey elsewhere and then immigrated to the United States.

It seems the American Dream comes with strings attached. Or, in this case, French fries, milk shakes, and cable television.

The researchers postulate that two primary forces explain the undoing of the paradox. First, it's likely only the healthiest Hispanics make the move to the United States, while those who are sick or disabled stay behind. Second, and more telling, is the lifestyle adopted by those Hispanics born within the Land of Way More Than Plenty. Poor dietary habits, smoking and inactive lifestyles place American-born Hispanics at greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease than those born abroad.

So, is this the beginning of a new paradox - one in which pregnant Hispanics rush to Mexico to give birth in hope of raising healthy little chicos y chicas? Hmm...

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To read more about being a healthy kid, see this from KidsHealth.


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