Mexican immigrants to the US are not a healthy as previously believed, RAND study says

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Newly arrived Mexican immigrants may not be healthier than Latinos in this country as long believed, a new RAND study concludes. It recommends routine health screenings for new arrivals to detect previously undiagnosed conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

  • Newly arrived Mexican immigrants to the United States generally report better overall health than native-born Latinos. But a RAND study released Monday suggests that this phenomenon -known as “healthy immigrant effect” - may be a bit less phenomenal than long believed.

The researchers say their findings turned up a “significant" amount of undiagnosed disease in recently-arrived Mexican immigrants that dilutes the health advantage they have over native-born Mexican Americans and immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years.

Researchers found more than half of new Mexican immigrants who had diabetes and a third of those who had hypertension were unaware that they were ill until they were diagnosed with the diseases in the United States. 

The study’s authors say their findings, published in the December edition of the journal Health Affairs, underscore the need for routine health screenings of new immigrants to avoid costly health complications associated with delayed treatment.

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