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.
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" -- a claim that Hispanics in the United States are healthier than whites despite being poorer and less educated.
Instead, this study shows that Mexicans-Americans born in the United States are less healthy than whites of the same socioeconomic background. Only foreign-born Hispanics match their white counterparts. These fit immigrants tip the scales for the Hispanic population, skewing numbers that would otherwise indicate an unhealthy Hispanic population.