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April 27, 1994

Mortality Among Hispanics

Author Affiliations

University of Southern California School of Medicine Alhambra

JAMA. 1994;271(16):1238. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510400023018

To the Editor.  —There is a bias among US institutional researchers against a behavioral explanation of the "paradox" of Hispanic health. In 1991 the Centers for Disease Control speculated that the low rate of infant mortality among Mexican Hispanics was because of unrecorded out-of-hospital births.1 Now the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute attributes the low mortality among Mexican Hispanics compared with non-Hispanics to a "healthy migrant effect."1 These institutional researches are misleading both the research community and the public with regard to an important epidemiologic discovery.The bias appears to stem from the incapability of institutional researchers to acknowledge that the actual causes of death in the United States are no longer biological but behavioral. Sorlie et al present data demonstrating that overall mortality in Hispanics is lower than in non-Hispanics despite their unfavorable socioeconomic circumstances.2 However, the authors never acknowledge that in terms of actual

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