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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

NYU: A Closer Look at the Latin American Paradox

A commentary co-authored by Dr. Ana Abraído-Lanza, vice dean and professor of social and behavioral sciences at the New York University School of Global Public Health, was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association titled “A Commentary on the Latin American Paradox.”

Using World Health Organization (WHO) data for 2001 and 2015, Dr. Chen et al analyzed all premature deaths among U.S. Latino, African American, and white populations, as well as Puerto Rican and 12 other Latin American populations. Their major findings were that U.S. Latina women had the lowest premature mortality rate of all populations studied and that mortality among U.S. Latino men was lower than that among all populations except for Peruvian individuals. Their other significant finding — specifically, that U.S. Latino populations have lower mortality rates than U.S. white populations — adds to the literature documenting the Latino mortality paradox.

The data suggest possible cultural, lifestyle, or behavioral explanations (eg, smoking) for the lower premature mortality rate among US Latino populations. These data underscore the need for more systematic explorations of whether cultural and other social or behavioral factors, such as health-promoting practices, contribute to Latino health. For example, it would be informative to explore population differences in resilience or health-promoting factors (eg, healthful diets or supportive networks) and risk factors (eg, smoking or drug use), as well as associations between acculturation and health.

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