Monday, March 5, 2007

Numbers roundup: high seat belt use, 5 years for skill visas, wages depend on skin color, more Spanish-speakers, and mystery Hispanic health "paradox"

33 / 66

From Meharry Medical College's Nathaniel C. Briggs, M.D.:

"[A]mong Mexican American Hispanics, seat belt use was 33 percent more prevalent than among non-Hispanic whites. And Central American-South American Hispanics were 66 percent more likely to use seat belts than non-Hispanic whites."

8 to 15

From Vanderbilt University's Joni Hersch

"[I]mmigrants with the lightest skin color earned, on average, 8 percent to 15 percent more than immigrants with the darkest skin tone."

84,000 / 8,700 / 80

from the Tennessean

"The Nashville area's immigrant population has grown from fewer than 18,000 people in 1990 to an estimated 84,000 today. Foreign-born people make up 7 percent of the metro area's population, up from 2 percent in 1990."

"Spanish-only households — in which no adult can easily communicate in English — jumped more than 15-fold, from fewer than 600 homes in 1990 to nearly 8,700 today."

"[T]he Nashville area remains 80 percent white and overwhelmingly English-speaking..."

140,000 / 5

From the New York Times:

There are "only 140,000 employment-based visas are available each year; skilled workers wait 5 years for one."

19.8 - 18.9 = 0.9

Elsewhere in the New York Times:

"[I]f statistics are any guide, Mrs. Lara has a long life ahead of her, longer than would be expected if she were black or a native-born white woman. It is called the Hispanic paradox, and it is one of the most puzzling discoveries in research on aging."

"For example, a recent analysis by Irma T. Elo, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania, indicates that a 65-year-old white woman will live, on average, an additional 18.9 years. But a 65-year-old Hispanic woman who immigrated to the United States will live an additional 19.8 years, a significant difference."

"The longevity difference persists even though Hispanic immigrants tend to be like Mrs. Lara, poor and poorly educated and lacking health care. It persists even though, like Mrs. Lara, they get chronic diseases like arthritis and high blood pressure and are often overweight."

"Like Mrs. Lara, Mr. Leos had almost no education. He left school after the fourth grade and came to Texas from Mexico when he was 21, arriving with his wife and children, unable to speak English and afraid of what life would hold for him."

"Now at 78, he has his own custom tailor shop. It is just a few minutes from the modest brick-faced house where Mr. Leos and his wife raised their five children, and where their children and their nine grandchildren still come to celebrate birthdays and holidays."

"'I believe that when you don’t feel happy in your heart or yourself that’s what shortens the life of people,' Mr. Leos said."

"'I am not rich, but I have a full life for myself and my family,' he added. 'That makes me feel happy.'"

10 / 32

From HealthDay News:

"Hispanic women develop cardiac risk factors much earlier than white women, typically exhibiting the heart health of a white woman 10 years older, a new study finds."

"The research suggests that being Hispanic may be an independent risk factor for heart disease, and that these women need to be identified and treated earlier."

"The findings turn the so-called 'Hispanic Paradox' on its head. This medical notion has long held that Hispanics have less heart disease than whites do, despite having higher rates of risk factors."

"Hispanic women had a higher rate of pre-hypertension (32 percent) compared with white women (19 percent). Physical activity levels for Hispanic women were significantly lower and they had a slightly higher rate of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that predispose a person towards cardiovascular disease."

"Teeters believes that the Hispanic Paradox may have resulted from incomplete data. 'Hispanic patients are less likely to come to care, so there's probably under-recognition of the degree of disease,' Teeters said. 'Many are immigrants and many go home when they become ill. There's also a higher degree of illegal alien status so there's probably underreporting.'"

Photo by rabinal

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