Hispanic Paradox

The Hispanic paradox, or Latino paradox, also known as the "epidemiologic paradox," refers to the epidemiological finding that Hispanic and Latino Americans tend to have health outcomes that paradoxically are comparable to, or in some cases better than, those of their U.S. white counterparts, even though Hispanics have lower average income and education. (Low socioeconomic status is almost universally associated with worse population health and higher death rates everywhere in the world.) The paradox usually refers in particular to low mortality among Latinos in the United States relative to non-Hispanic whites. The specific cause of the phenomenon is poorly understood, although the decisive factor appears to be place of birth, raising the possibility that differing birthing and/or neonatal practices might be involved via a lack of breastfeeding combined with birth trauma imprinting (both common in American obstetrics) and consequent mental and physical illness, the latter compounded by the impact of psychological problems on the capacity for social networking. It appears that the Hispanic Paradox cannot be explained by either the "salmon bias hypothesis" or the "healthy migrant effect," two theories that posit low mortality among immigrants due to, respectively, a possible tendency for sick immigrants to return to their home country before death and a possible tendency for new immigrants to be unusually healthy compared to the rest of their home-country population. Historical differences in smoking habits by ethnicity and place of birth may explain much of the paradox, at least at adult ages. However, some believe that there is no Hispanic Paradox, and that inaccurate counting of Hispanic deaths in the United States leads to an underestimate of Hispanic or Latino mortality.

First coined the Hispanic Epidemiological Paradox in 1986 by Kyriakos Markides, the phenomenon is also known as the Latino Epidemiological Paradox. According to Markides, a professor of sociomedical sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, this paradox was ignored by past generations, but is now "the leading theme in the health of the Hispanic population in the United States."

Read more about Hispanic Paradox:  Comparison With Other Ethnicities, Criticism

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