Are Latinas Having Healthier Babies Than Their White Counterparts?

Are Latinas Having Healthier Babies Than Their White Counterparts?

A look into the Latina paradox.
Mahbuba
Mahbuba
40
views

The Latina Paradox

Are Latinas Having Healthier Babies Than Their White Counterparts?: A Closer Look into the Latina Paradox

What is it?

The Latina paradox, which is an ancillary of the Latino-health paradox, is the epidemiological observation that rates of low birth weight, infant mortality, premature babies, and pregnancy complications are lower among Latinas (mothers born in Mexico and a few other immigrant sending countries) when compared to their white counterparts and other immigrant populations in the US. This trend occurs despite Latina immigrant mothers’ “disadvantaged risk profiles,” which include low levels of education, low income, and poor access to prenatal care, all of which are strongly associated with birth complications. In fact, according to statistics published in the American Journal of Public health (AJPH), in the year of 2002, the US Latino population had a low-birthweight incidence of 6.5 percent, whereas the incidence was much higher among non-Latino Whites and African Americans, 6.9 percent and 13.4 percent respectively. Such statistics and others provide further evidence that such a paradox exists. Surprisingly, greater assimilation into the US health care system is actually correlated with a decline in this paradox. The“Latina paradox” is most evident among Mexican-born women. But why does such a trend exist?

Explaining the Paradox

Truly Paradoxical: Though varying theories have been posited about the paradox, some questioning its validity and many others vehemently trying to assess why it exists, no one theory has garnered an overwhelming amount of support. Thus, it is safe to say, more work needs to be done in solving this paradox.

The Healthy Migrant Hypothesis: The healthy migrant hypothesis centers around evidence that suggests migrants from other countries that come into the US tend to be healthier than their fellow countrymen to begin with. As a result, it can be said that the healthiest Latinos migrate to the United States in the first place and thus they give rise to healthier babies. Though this hypothesis is always considered with the Latina paradox, it does have its flaws. For one, this hypothesis does not account for why the trend seen in the Latina paradox is not seen among other immigrant groups. Why aren't lower rates of pregnancy complications present among other immigrant groups, such as Asians or Africans as well, both of whom are also considered in the healthy migrant hypothesis.

Defining the Latino Identity: According to the Huffington Post, skeptics of the Latina paradox have also considered the possibility that existence of this paradox is a result of a statistical error due to the vast diversity of the Latino population and not much more than that. The Latino population, for example, encompasses everyone from Mexican Americans to Puerto-Rican Americans alike. Thus, many argue that issues that exist with self-identifying as a Latino American have resulted in the statistical error that is the Latina paradox. However, this perspective is rather difficult to bear, because the Latina paradox has been observed many times and in many places since its initial conception and thus it has becomes less likely that it is a result of a statistical error from incorrect identification.

Marianismo: The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) has also examined marianismo, an archetype of womanhood that has existed in Mexican culture for some time, as a possible contributor to the existence of the Latina paradox. Marianismo espouses ideals of femininity and womanhood that are largely based on Catholic ideals. According to the AJPH, aspects of marianismo that potentially explain the existence of the Latina paradox are "strong cultural support for maternity, healthy traditional dietary practices, and the norm of selfless devotion"(AJPH). These ideals serve as protective factors in pregnancies and can be seen as contributing to the healthier pregnancy outcomes that are characteristic of the Latina Paradox.

Aspiration: In the anthropological work "Patient Citizens, Immigrant Mothers", a book investigating why the Latina paradox exists, Alyshia Galvez highlights the theme of “aspiracion[aspiration]” . She uses "aspiration" to explore the underlying causes of the Latina paradox. “Aspiracion” is a Spanish verb that aptly describes the sentiments Latina women feel towards their migration to the US, their pregnancy, and their knowledge of prenatal care. The term encapsulates how these women see themselves as agents of upwards mobility for their family, a role they believe is tied to both successful migration to the US and the delivery of healthy children. Hence, these women view their pregnancies as blessings and are confident in their knowledge about what is best for their babies. To Galvez, Latina women's positive perspective on their pregnancy and unwavering faith in their own ability to manage their pregnancy fill the gap created by poor access to prenatal care and correspondingly contribute to the Latina paradox.

Intergenerational Knowledge Transfer and other Social Support: Throughout her book, Galvez also discusses the prominent role of kinship relationships, especially female kinship relationships, in shaping the pregnancy experiences and outcomes of Mexican women in Mexico and in America soon after their migration. Such relationships almost always involve mothers, sisters, and especially the mothers of the pregnant woman's husband. Galvez argues that such relationships contribute to the Latina paradox. For example, mothers of the woman themselves or of the woman's significant other transmit knowledge about best foods for pregnant mothers, prenatal care practices, and advice about general wellbeing to their pregnant daughters, often even after their daughters have migrated to the US. This is known as intergenerational knowledge transfer and is considered to be an important contributor to the Latina paradox. As Galvez notes, Latina women enjoy these strong kinship relationships both during and after their pregnancies, which result in multiple sources of advice for taking care of oneself and her baby throughout the process. Thus, these increased sources of care and support afforded by the cultural and social resources of Latinas, Galvez notes, likely counteracts poor prenatal care and contributes to the Latina paradox. Other social support, such as from the community as a whole, is also seen among Latinas in their home countries and in the US and is further believed to contribute to the paradox.


Why Should We Care?

Increasing efficiency and outcomes of American prenatal care: Pregnancies of other immigrant populations and that of white populations exhibit higher rates of low birth-weight babies and pregnancy complications compared to that of Latinas. This is despite the fact that Latinas have poor access to prenatal care and even when access is fair, they do not use prenatal care as often as other populations. Thus, perhaps a closer investigation of Latina prenatal care usage, including their use of the American model and also other cultural factors that take the place of prenatal care, should be conducted. The knowledge from such an investigation can then be used to adjust the American prenatal care system to lead to better pregnancy outcomes for all women. Considering the contribution of strong relationships to the Latina paradox, this adjustment of prenatal care based on the model used by Latina women may even lead to lower costs for the American healthcare system as it would focus on relationships instead of more time in the hospital or more time with expensive equipment, tests, or treatment.

Rising Beyond the Rhetoric that Providing Prenatal Care to Undocumented Immigrants Would be Too Costly: According to Undocumentedpatients.org, access to prenatal care for women who are undocumented immigrants differs drastically across the country, because of state-level policies and interpretations. Thus, it is important to consider extending prenatal care to undocumented Latina immigrants at a more federal level, especially because costs for such programs may not be as high as certain rhetoric would suggest. After all, Latinas as a group have already shown that they are smart connoisseurs of prenatal care, using it more efficiently than other groups to achieve better pregnancy outcomes.



Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

Popular Right Now

Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

23731
views

Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

Cover Image Credit:

https://unsplash.com/photos/JFirQekVo3U

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

What The Bible Really Says About Following The US-Mexico Border Crisis Laws

Hint: It doesn't say we should support tearing families apart.

255
views

As the inhumane separation of families at the US-Mexico border (not to mention the conditions they are being held in) has elicited strong lashback--and rightfully so-- what truly breaks my heart is how the Bible (and subsequently Christianity as a whole) is being misused to defend these actions, such as when Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted Romans 13.

He stands behind the notion that the law is law, no matter what. Those parents broke the law when they crossed the border illegally, so they must face the consequences.

Nevermind the extreme fear of being torn from their loved ones. Nevermind the immense hurt, both physical and emotional. Nevermind the heavy hearts drained of all hope, the broken souls of people desperate to provide a new, better life for their loved ones.

Because the law is the law.

Now, I was raised in a Christian home, exposed to various practices and denominations, and I still continue to explore my own ideas of who God is, if and what I believe with regard to the Christian faith. But one thing has always been clear: it is all about love.

At the end of the day, the entire belief system is based on the premise of unconditional, self-sacrificial, unadulterated love.

In fact, to love is in and of itself a "law," the ultimate command given by Christ.

In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus tells a Sadducee, a teacher of religious law, that "you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."

Jesus placed loving one's neighbor on the same level of significance as loving God, showing just how seriously the command should be taken.

He emphasized loving others above all else, encouraging--demanding, even--his followers to do the same. His followers, often foreigners traveling to strange lands themselves, were to be the embodiment of authentic love, to live compassionately, to show hospitality and kindness to those whom they encountered.

Why should we be any different?

What those like AG Sessions who stand behind their defense of "the law is the law" fail to see is that for Christians, for true Christ followers, love is the law.

Further on in that same Romans 13 passage, the Apostle Paul (who was executed for breaking the law, by the way) writes, "If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law… These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law." (v. 8b-10)

Love does no wrong. Love fulfills the law.

This is the law Christians should be fighting to protect, the "clear and wise command" they should be following.

What does that mean?

It means we have to stop this horrid practice of separating families at the border.

It means we have to put this law of love first and stand up to a government policy that is tearing parents from their children, that is the definition of cold and heartless.

It means we have to do more than just admit that this is unjust, do more than see a post on social media and send up a prayer.

It means we must act, must speak up and fight back for our neighbors, must demand that this behavior not only cease now, but also ensure that nothing of the sort ever happens in our country again.

It means that we should stop focusing so much on "the law," and start focusing on the fulfillment of the law.

It means we must love.

Cover Image Credit:

Flickr

Related Content

Facebook Comments