Essay Sample on Latina Paradox

Published: 2022-11-09
Essay Sample on Latina Paradox
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories: Race Discrimination Immigration
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1577 words
14 min read

The Latina Paradox, which is also known as the Hispanic Paradox, or the epidemiologic paradox, refers to the finding that Hispanic and Latina mothers in the United States enjoy surprisingly better health outcomes than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. The paradox is attributed to the social connections and the culture of the Latina people. Their social and cultural practices involve social and community networks and informal prenatal care systems that involve friends, family members, lay health workers and neighbors. The informal system leads to a safe delivery and it leads to a reduction in many other diseases. The same culture and practices produce similar outcomes in other health issues apart from prenatal care (McGlade, Saha & Dahlstrom, 2004). However, there are some factors that have led to the reduction of this advantage and the benefits of the paradox seem to reduce with time. The essay analyzes how the benefits of this paradox are reduced with time and how the situation can be changed.

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Discrimination and Acculturation Stress

Discrimination is a common factor that leads to acculturation stress and the reduction of the benefits of the Latina Paradox. The impacts of discrimination can be devastating and mostly for the immigrants who try to get integrated into the US culture and way of life. Being a member of a different and a minor group is a challenge and the immigrants tend to get assimilated into the new culture of the host communities. Discrimination makes the Latinos less comfortable with their cultural practices and this makes them abandon their paradoxical care. Discrimination also affects the access and confidence that the Latino people have in the healthcare centers. Most of the government health programs do not take into consideration the impacts of discrimination and how it can be reduced (Acevedo, 2005). The analysis of the conditions in which Hispanics live show that most of them face discrimination in many healthcare centers.

Acculturation stress refers to the psychological impact of adapting to a new culture. For Hispanic immigrants who move into the United States, there are many factors that lead to stress and affect their health practices. Acculturation stress can affect people at an individual level or at a population level. Acculturation stress reduces the mental health of the immigrants in the process of getting assimilated into the new culture. Socio-economic and safety concerns may also lead to this stress. According to Dettlaff (2008), there is a need for government agencies to understand the specific needs of immigrant Hispanic families and the impacts of acculturation on their health outcomes. Dettlaff also analyzes the impacts of this stress on drug abuse and alcoholism among these immigrants. The major concern is that Hispanic immigrants are losing the benefits of the Latino paradox as a result of discrimination and acculturation stress.

The Diminishing of the Benefits

The benefits are diminishing with time and this remains a major concern for the health officials and the government. The loss of the benefits of the paradox is lost among the immigrants in the process of legislation, whereby they are involved in similarly unfavorable conditions. They experience fear, rejection, harassment, isolation, powerlessness, stress and chronic trauma. Paranoia, depression, and anxiety are common in immigrants and mostly mothers. Immigrant mothers, who are believed to be the main indicators of the benefits of the paradox, are at a higher risk of getting stress due to the fact that they care a lot about the welfare of their families; their husbands and children; as compared to the husbands. The negative feelings during immigration lead to depression and paranoia and eventually affects the cultural practices that could have led to the benefits of the Latino Paradox (Salas, Ayon & Gurrola, 2013). The main area where the benefits of the paradox were seen is in the birth weight of the newborn babies.

Generally, the health outcomes of the Latina mothers are positive. However, there is a variation between the outcomes of the mothers born in the United States and the ones born in another country. The measure of the language, nativity, ethnic identification and the origin of the parent affect the birth weight of the children. Low and high birth weight are some of the major indicators of the health of the newborn babies and it is used to indicate the health conditions of the Hispanic and Mexican-American mothers. A comparison among the American mothers, the America-born Latina mothers, and foreign-born Latina mothers show there are some disparities and they can be attributed to the legal status of the mothers and their place of birth. Mothers who are born in the US are affected by acculturation and they have worse health outcomes as compared to the ones born outside the US (Flores, Simonsen, Manuck, Dyer & Turok, 2012). The research outcomes of the health conditions show that the benefits of the paradox require urgent interventions for them to remain relevant and effective.

The other case is that the benefit of the paradox has reduced among the breastfeeding mothers. The effects of acculturation on the breastfeeding initiation and duration among the Latina mothers are evident. Most of the US-born Latina mothers tend to get affected by the culture of the US and their breastfeeding habits are significantly different from that of the foreign-born Latina mothers. The effects of acculturation can be measured by the language used in writing, reading and communicating at home, the nativity of the mother and the nativity of the mother's parents. Mothers who used their native language are more likely to initiate breastfeeding and to breastfeed for a longer duration as compared to the ones that use the foreign language (Sussner, Lindsay & Peterson, 2008). From that analysis, it is valid to conclude that the language use and the effects of acculturation have reduced the benefits of the paradox.

The effects of acculturation on the low birth weight and the overall health of the Latina people can be measured using the data from the health departments. It shows that the trend is changing with time and the situation can only be changed if there is a keen arrangement to restore the social and cultural practices of the concerned communities. Stress, acculturation, and social support are associated with the Epstein-Barr virus antibody levels and blood pressure in the immigrants (McClure et al., 2010). The narrow access to healthcare in the US and the impacts of discrimination should be the main focus of the activists, scholars, and activists. As indicated previously, discrimination makes the Latina mothers and it reduces the cohesion that supports their social and cultural practices. Changes in policies that guide the immigration rules can help to restore the way immigrants are integrated into society. Activists can lobby the policy-makers to gain such changes to reduce the negative experiences of the immigrants. Community health workers lay midwives, and caregivers who support the practices of the health practices in the communities should also be trained to increase their ability to support the Latina Paradox. The Latinas should also be encouraged to pass their skills and way of life to the young generations and to uphold the benefits of the paradox.


The Latina Paradox is an admirable fact that has been in existence among the Latina people for many years. It is believed and evident that the Latina people have similar or even better health outcomes than the White counterparts. The health of the children among the Latinas is better as compared to that of the whites and this is closely associated with the lifestyle, the cohesion among the Latina people and the care they give to the expectant mothers. Research has also found a close relationship between the places of birth. For the Latina people born in the US and the ones born in a foreign country, the benefits of the Latina Paradox are different. The ones born in the US are highly affected by acculturation and discrimination and this affects their way of life. With time, the benefits of this paradox are expected to reduce. The solution to the diminishing benefits is to restore the culture of the Latina people and to reduce the impacts of discrimination during the integration of the immigrants.


Acevedo, E. C. (2005). Latina Paradox: Cultural Barriers to the Equitable Receipt of Welfare Services under Modern Welfare Reform.

Dettlaff, A. J. (2008). Immigrant Latino children and families in child welfare: A framework for conducting a cultural assessment. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 2(4), 451-470.

Flores, M. E., Simonsen, S. E., Manuck, T. A., Dyer, J. M., & Turok, D. K. (2012). The "Latina epidemiologic paradox": contrasting patterns of adverse birth outcomes in US-born and foreign-born Latinas. Women's Health Issues, 22(5), e501-e507.

McClure, H. H., Martinez, C. R., Snodgrass, J. J., Eddy, J. M., Jimenez, R. A., Isiordia, L. E., & McDade, T. W. (2010). Discrimination-related stress, blood pressure and Epstein-Barr virus antibodies among Latin American immigrants in Oregon, US. Journal of Biosocial Science, 42(4), 433-461.

McGlade, M. S., Saha, S., & Dahlstrom, M. E. (2004). The Latina paradox: an opportunity for restructuring prenatal care delivery. American Journal of Public Health, 94(12), 2062-2065.

Salas, L. M., Ayon, C., & Gurrola, M. (2013). Estamos traumados: The effect of antiimmigrant sentiment and policies on the mental health of Mexican immigrant families. Journal of Community Psychology, 41(8), 1005-1020.

Sussner, K. M., Lindsay, A. C., & Peterson, K. E. (2008). The influence of acculturation on breastfeeding initiation and duration in low-income women in the US. Journal of Biosocial Science, 40(5), 673-696.

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