Play on Health Today?
What Role Does the Mexican Health Paradox Play on Health Today?
What is it like to be a Mexican American in the modern United States? Asking this question, one can easily encounter various stereotypes. Often times it is associated with illegal immigration, these people can be caught in the middle of racial attacks and deprivations. The protesters might have forgotten about the history when Mexicans helped the American people to evolve, especially its economic sector. During the years when the U.S. people required a huge amount of work force, especially in agriculture sector, a great amount of Mexican American helped this country to revitalize its agricultural sector.
Low wages, inability to access a qualitative health care, and in some cases inhuman living conditions make Mexican Americans the most underprivileged ethnical group in the US. Being a nation that celebrates and promotes cultural diversity, America made everything possible to oppress these people. However, there is an issue emerged in the recent studies of scholars which points to the serious impairment between the health state of a Mexican American and the US born Americans. Despite the overall opinion, today’s research reveals that the state of health of Mexican Americans is much better than the health of average American born inhabitants.
Such a paradox is especially strange taking into account the state of modern health care system in the country. In addition to unreasonable high costs, the accessibility of health care system remains incredibly low, especially for the most unprivileged people of the country. However, even the controversial situation with current health care system and inability to access qualitative service, Mexican Americans somehow manage not only to preserve their health, but also are reported to be healthier than their white counterparts.
According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2013), US Hispanics tend to live longer than their non-Hispanic whites by approximately 3 years. These distinct trends in life expectancy have been noted since 1986 when Markides and Coreil (1986) described this disparity (called in this article the Hispanic Epidemiological Paradox) almost 30 years later it is still being studied. However, no single research has looked at these disparities that are seen specifically within Mexican Americans, other than the entire Hispanic group. This indicates a need for academic scholars to examine the multiple factors that combine culture, tradition, and one’s lifestyle choices and to explain this common occurrence. Previous literature has primarily looked at Hispanics as whole while discounting particular ethnic groups. Several frameworks/theories are utilized to study the Mexican Health Paradox (MHP) that includes: The Healthy Migrant Theory and Salmon Bias sub-Theory; The Cultural Barrier; Familism; Curanderismo (folk healing); and Sleep Health. There has been no indication for why one framework/theory is better fit to explain this phenomenon.
Hispanics are considered the fastest growing ethnic group within the United States. The United States Bureau of the Census (2010) established there is 60% growth rate of Hispanics observed over the last decades. This increase is usually connected to high fertility of Hispanic women and high level of immigration into the USA. According to the estimations, even if the country make immigration policies even stricter or close the borders, the number of Hispanic population will continue to grow.
This is in contrast to the fact that the Hispanic population has the lowest socio-economic status due to the language barrier, low wages, and insufficient educational level (Tienda 1982). At the same time, this status can be explained by the attitude Americans have towards this ethnic group (Dornelas, Fischer, and DiLorenzo 2014). Morales et al. (2002)