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Is there a Hispanic Epidemiologic Paradox in Later Life? A Closer Look at Chronic Morbidity

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Zhang, Zhenmei, Mark D. Hayward, and Chuntian Lu. 2012. "Is there a Hispanic Epidemiologic Paradox in Later Life? A Closer Look at Chronic Morbidity." Research on Aging, 34(5): 548-571.

This study examined the morbidity patterns of foreign-born Hispanics, U.S.-born Hispanics, Blacks, and Whites aged 53 years and older using seven self-reported physician-diagnosed chronic diseases as well as six biomarkers. Drawing on the 2006 Health and Retirement Study and its biomarker data, the authors found that foreign-born Hispanics had comparable or lower rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, chronic lung disease, and stroke, controlling for age and gender. The health advantages were robust when socioeconomic conditions and health behaviors were controlled. Foreign-born Hispanics were not significantly different from U.S.-born Hispanics except for a lower risk for arthritis. In terms of biomarkers, foreign-born Hispanics were not statistically different from Whites except for having higher risks of high systolic blood pressure and blood glucose. Future research should explore multiple factors contributing to the lower rates of major chronic diseases among older Hispanics who have faced social disadvantages over the life course.

DOI:10.1177/0164027511429807 (Full Text)

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