Does Nativity Explain the Hispanic Paradox in Biological Risk?
Jung Ki Kim, University of Southern California
Dawn Alley, University of Southern California
Teresa E. Seeman, University of California, Los Angeles
This paper examines differences in biological risk among blacks, whites, and Hispanics in the United States, as well as between native-born and foreign-born Hispanics. Information on measured biological risk from the on-going National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) provides an objective measure of physiological status comparable across population subgroups (N=10,002). Taken as a group, Hispanics have levels of cardiovascular risk, metabolic risk, and inflammatory risk that are between those of blacks and whites. However, native-born Hispanics have levels of biological risk comparable to those of the black population, and have significantly more metabolic risk than blacks or whites. In contrast, foreign-born Hispanics have lower levels of biological risk. We conclude that biological risk levels in Hispanics do not suggest a health paradox, but rather a mixture of native- and foreign- born populations with different underlying health profiles.