The Mexican Paradox Santa Fe New Mexican, Barbara Solow, 25/1/2003 "Decades of scientific research have posited that low income and lack of access to early prenatal care are the best predictors of unhealthy births. But when it comes to immigrant Latinas, a surprising and mysterious phenomenon kicks in: Although they get less prenatal care and are more likely to be living in poverty, studies show first-generation Latinas - especially those from Mexico - have healthy babies. Having fewer low birthweight and pre-term babies (those born before 37 weeks) means lower infant mortality. Nationally, the rate of infant deaths per 1,000 live births for Latinas is 5.6, compared to 5.7 for whites and 13.5 for African Americans.
A report by a statewide task force to be unveiled early next month reveals that what's known as the "Mexican Paradox" is at work in North Carolina. The report found that between 1996 and 2000, the rate of infant deaths per 1,000 live births to Mexican-born women was 6.1, compared to 6.6 for whites and 15 for African Americans. (For non-Mexican Latinas, it was 5 and for U.S.-born Latinas, 6.3.)" [A fascinating article, it also addresses the loss of this advantage as cultural pressure forces these women away from their traditional practicies (including breastfeeding) and diets. - JC]