Junk Food Nation: The Effect of U.S. Exposure on Cardiovascular Mortality Risk among Older Mexicans

Jennifer J. Tovar, University of Texas at Austin
Maren Andrea Jimenez, University of Texas at Austin

While many theories attempt to explicate the epidemiological paradox, little empirical research exists to substantiate one theory over the other. This paper examines the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease among older Mexicans in the U.S. and Mexico using the Health and Retirement Survey and the Mexican Health and Aging Survey. Preliminary results demonstrate that the U.S. and Mexican samples differ significantly on health behaviors and cardiac risk indicators. U.S. born Mexicans and Mexicans who migrated to the U.S. and live there have higher proportions of those currently smoking, currently drinking, and those who are obese, as well as high proportions who suffered diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes, than those living in Mexico. However, health behaviors and health conditions apparently do not vary by exposure to the US in either the US or Mexican sample. The implications of these findings for existing theoretical explanations of the epidemiological paradox are discussed.

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Presented in Session 147: Migration, Urbanization, and Health