The unprecedented growth in the number of adults over 65 in the United States is fueled by high rates of immigration from Latin American countries, especially Mexico. This growth rate has important implications for aging and health. The â€œHispanic Paradoxâ€ has been described in terms of a longevity advantage of Mexican Americans compared to non-Hispanic Whites despite having a relatively low socioeconomic status. At the same time, the evidence suggests relatively poor health and high disability rates among older Mexican Americans. In this chapter we review recent literature on the Hispanic Paradox and present data from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly (Hispanic EPESE) on important health outcomes such as obesity, disability, depression, and frailty. We take advantage of the rich information available in the Hispanic EPESE to describe some health conditions using longitudinal analyses. We first analyze trends in diabetes and its effect on disability. We also investigate the effect of obesity on disability and mortality as well as the effect of depressive symptomatology on disability and mortality. We finalize by reviewing prevalence and correlates of frailty among older Mexican Americans. These important health conditions highlight the urgency of establishing public health programs that can target health outcomes among older Mexican Americans, a rapidly growing segment of the US population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)