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December 21, 1994

Born in the USA: Infant Health Paradox

JAMA. 1994;272(23):1803-1804. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520230015006

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IN AN ERA when immigrant status evokes sentiments ranging from mild suspicion to outright hostility, two sociologists have good news for foreign-born women living in the United States.

Their data analyses challenge widely held assumptions that US women, usually with higher levels of education, employment, and income, have healthier infants than immigrants. "There is an apparent public health enigma," says Rubén G. Rumbaut, PhD, professor of sociology at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

After studying hundreds of thousands of birth records in Southern California, Rumbaut and John R. Weeks, PhD, director of the International Population Center at San Diego (Calif) State University, found that immigrants experienced better perinatal outcomes than US-born women.

"We are trying to unlock the paradox," Rumbaut, a Cuban native, said during the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA) where he presented their latest analysis that offers some explanations.

Healthy Asian Infants  Rumbaut

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