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Birthplace and mortality among insured Latinos: the paradox revisited

OBJECTIVES: We investigated the Latino paradox in a managed care setting and examined the role of birthplace. METHODS: We evaluated 133,155 non-Latino Whites and 5,237 Latinos (36% born in the United States, 34% in Central and South America, 21% in Mexico, and 8% in the Caribbean Islands) who were enrolled in an integrated healthcare delivery system in northern California. Baseline data were from 1964-1973, and the median followup was 34 years. Main outcome measures were cause-specific and all-cause mortality. RESULTS: In fully-adjusted analyses, and compared with non-Latino Whites, the risk of death from circulatory causes was significantly lower among US-born Latinos (hazard ratio [HR] .79, 95% confidence interval [CI] .66-.93), among Central and South America-born Latinos (HR .76, 95% CI .63-.91), and Caribbean-born Latinos (HR .66, 95% CI .47-0.93). Risk of death by malignant neoplasms was significantly lower among US-born Latinos (HR .68, 95% CI .56-.83). Risk of respiratory death was significantly lower among Central and South America-born Latinos (HR .50, 95% CI .32-.80). All-cause mortality risk was significantly decreased in US-born Latinos (HR .79, 95% CI .71-.87), Central and South America-born Latinos (HR .81, 95% CI .73-.90), and Caribbean-born Latinos (HR .76, 95% CI .63-.93) but not in Mexico-born Latinos. CONCLUSIONS: In our managed care setting, the Latino paradox phenomenon varied by birthplace; it was more evident among US-born Latinos. This subgroup experienced lower circulatory, cancer, and all-cause mortality than did non-Latino Whites, despite higher prevalences of current smoking, obesity, and asymptomatic hyperglycemia.

Authors: Iribarren C; Darbinian JA; Fireman BH; Burchard EG

Ethn Dis. 2009 Spring;19(2):185-91.

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