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New report shows Mexican women immigrants are healthier than their U.S.-born counterparts

October 04, 2010

  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

    Although more than half are uninsured and receive less care when they need it, Mexican immigrant women have a lower prevalence of chronic diseases than U.S.-born women, according to a new report, Migration and Health: Mexican Immigrant Women in the United States. Yet high rates of obesity and diabetes, little physical activity and significant barriers to health care, among other factors, may make it difficult for Mexican immigrant women to maintain their comparatively good health in the future.

    Mexican immigrant women:

    Are healthier than their counterparts.

    • They are less likely to have cardiovascular disease (5.5 percent), cancer (3 percent), hypertension (12 percent) and asthma (4 percent) than are other ethnic or racial groups.
    • They drink less alcohol and use fewer drugs.

    Experience significant barriers to receiving care.

    • Some 63 percent lack health insurance.
    • Nearly three out of five have limited English skills, and more than half have less than a high-school education.
    • Nearly three-quarters are caring for children younger than 18.
    • Although 70 percent have been in the U.S. for over 10 years, just over a quarter are citizens.

    Are at risk for serious health problems in the future.

    • They have a strikingly high incidence of overweight and obesity.
    • About half lack regular, structured leisure-time physical activity.
    • They are more frequently diagnosed with diabetes (9.1 percent versus 5.7 percent for non-Hispanic white women) and peptic ulcers (46 percent versus 27 percent for non-Hispanic white women) than their counterparts.

    The report, available in both English and Spanish, was released October 4 at the X Annual Binational Policy Forum on Migration and Health in Guanajuato, Mexico. The report is a collaborative effort between the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the Mexican National Population Council and the University of California, Berkeley.

    Read the report: Migration and Health: Mexican Immigrant Women in the United States