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CDC report: Latinas live longer

Doctors with patient, Seattle, 1999
Doctors with patient, Seattle, 1999
Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its first-ever report on Hispanic life expectancy, and the long-life winners are Latinas, whose life expectancy tops the list at 83.1 years.

The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics issued its "United States Life Tables by Hispanic Origin" today, with the tables based on 2006 death rate data.

Among the groups compared in the report, Hispanic females have the highest life expectancy at birth (83.1 years), followed by non-Hispanic white females (80.4 years), Hispanic males (77.9 years), non-Hispanic black females (76.2 years), non-Hispanic white males (75.6 years), and non-Hispanic black males (69.2 years).

Latinos live longer in general: According to the report, life expectancy at birth for the total population in 2006 was 77.7 years; 80.6 years for the Hispanic population, 78.1 years for the non-Hispanic white population, and 72.9 years for the non-Hispanic black population.

The reasons why aren't clear, though much has been made of the "Latino paradox," the lower mortality rate of Latinos versus non-Latino whites, despite having a poorer socioeconomic profile.

Some researchers have attributed the health paradox to factors ranging from immigration (i.e. that those who choose to leave home are presumably in good health) to a healthier lifestyle, with less fast food, smoking and drinking. As Latino immigrants assimilate culturally in terms of lifestyle, however, whatever protection the latter offers is believed to drop off.

The full life-expectancy report is available here.