Is there a Hispanic American “Epidemiologic Paradox” in Late Life? A Closer Look at Chronic Morbidity

Zhenmei Zhang, Michigan State University
Chuntian Lu, Michigan State University

This study examined chronic morbidity patterns in later life by race, ethnicity, and nativity using 7 self-reported physician diagnosed chronic diseases as well as biomarkers. We also assessed the sensitivity of the racial/ethnic/nativity differentials in morbidity to health behaviors and SES. Using the 2006 Health and Retirement Study, we estimated a series of nested logistic models of 7 chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, chronic lung disease, and stroke) that have public health significance among a nationally representative sample of people born before 1954 (N=15,894). Preliminary results show that foreign-born Hispanic Americans generally report comparable or more favorable health for these chronic conditions (except for diabetes) than native-born non-Hispanic whites, controlling for demographic factors. The health advantages are robust when socioeconomic conditions and health behaviors are controlled. Results from biomarker data are largely consistent with the findings from self-reported physician diagnosed chronic diseases.

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Presented in Session 187: Hispanic and Black Health and Mortality