When we read about the health of Latinxs, the focus tends to lean in a more negative trajectory. We encounter statistics about Latinx communities dealing with higher rates of diabetes and heart disease than their non-Latinx counterparts.
But a new study shows that despite being more economically disadvantaged, and despite having less access to resources, it a fact that Latinxs are actually living longer and healthier lives.
How is that explained?
The findings credit this phenomenon they refer to as the “Latino Health Paradox” to a number of factors including the clear connection to community and family. Another attribute that tends to extend the life within these communities is deep laughter, but anecdotally many recognize that the food so lovingly cooked from scratch must have something to add to this.
Researchers call this the ‘Latino health paradox’ because the limitations of low incomes and other societal limitations that negatively impact other groups, don’t appear to have the same dire consequences in Latinx communities. Even poor socioeconomic and psychosocial circumstances that lead to worse health and earlier deaths for other groups don’t limit the longevity of Latinxs who have longer life expectancies.
The study also found that Latina mothers laugh more than other moms because they engage in deeper, daily conversations. This could be attributed to Latinas living in close proximity to family and friends, to having joyful and polite personalities, and to their avoidance of negative interactions across their trimesters.
There is still more to explore and to learn, especially so other groups can benefit from this exceptional benefit, if it can be shared. In the meantime, Latinx families should keep on doing what makes them happy, interacting with their loved ones and putting into motion whatever it is that is letting them live a long, satisfying life.
Christine Bolaños, Josefina Casati contributed to this report.