Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Is ethnic self-identification a good predictor of health risks?

Ability of Ethnic Self-Identification to Partition Modifiable Health Risk Among US Residents of Mexican Ancestry.
Barger SD, Gallo LC.
Am J Public Health. 2008 Sep 17
Objectives. We examined the relationship between ethnic self-identification and the partitioning of health risk within a Mexican American population. Methods. We combined data from the 2000 to 2002 National Health Interview Surveys to obtain a large (N=10044) sample of US residents of Mexican ancestry. We evaluated health risk, defined as self-reported current smoking, overweight, and obesity, and compared the predictive strength of health risk correlates across self-identified Mexican and Mexican American participants. Results. Self-identified Mexican participants were less likely to smoke (odds ratio [OR]=0.70; 95% confidence interval[CI] = 0.60, 0.83; P<.001) and to be obese (OR=0.66; 95% CI=0.56, 0.77; P<.001) than were self-identified Mexican American participants. Within-group analyses found that sociodemographic predictors had inconsistent and even contradictory patterns of association with health risk across the 2 subgroups. Health risk was consistently lower among immigrants relative to US-born participants. Ethnic self-identification effects were independent of socioeconomic status. Conclusions. US residents of Mexican ancestry showed substantial within-group differences in health risk and risk correlates. Ethnic self-identification is a promising strategy to clarify differential risk and may help resolve apparent discrepancies in health risk correlates in this literature.


Maju said...

Hmmm... it is a little confusing: do US resdents of Mexican ancestry have two ways of self-identification (i.e. Mexican-American and just Mexican)? And if so, what's the difference: second vs. first generation?

It would seem it is this way but just because of one sentence: Health risk was consistently lower among immigrants relative to US-born participants.

It also seems to mean that the "American way of life" is not healthy, at least for people of Mexican ancestry.

Yann Klimentidis said...

yes to all of your questions and statements. Here's a post I have about the so-called "Hispanic paradox". I doubt the linked video still works.
this is a good example of the complexity of the lifestyle/environmental/genetic influences on health.

Yann Klimentidis said...

oops, here's that link:

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