Despite commonly held theories that link education and higher income levels to better health, recent data indicates Latinos go against the grain. According to Huffington Post, the phenomenon sometimes called the Latino Health Paradox remains a mystery to many.
A report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics revealed that Latinos hold the nation’s longest average lifespan – despite reporting income and education levels that are lower than average. According to the report, the group outlives blacks by nearly 8 years and whites by 2.5 years. Exactly why Latinos outlive blacks and whites remains unknown due to lack of research, according to David Hayes-Bautista, a professor of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the UCLA School of Medicine.
The phenomenon may be able to provide answers about health and effective health care for the entire population, but Hayes-Bautista says that some peoples’ automatic reactions about Latinos lead them to liken the whole group with undocumented immigrants. “Once that happens we miss out on what could be some very useful information,” he said.
According to Hayes-Bautists, the good health profile of Latinos is likely due to cultural rather than genetic factors which means that there are things that other Americans could do to “Latinize” and have healthier babies and live longer lives.