Economic and Anthropological Assessments of the Health of Children in Maya Immigrant Families in the Us

Posted: 11 Aug 2003

See all articles by Patricia K. Smith

Patricia K. Smith

University of Michigan at Dearborn - Department of Social Sciences

Barry Bogin

Loughborough University

Maria Ines Varela Silva

University of Michigan at Dearborn - Department of Behavioral Sciences

James Loucky

Western Washington University - Department of Anthropology

Abstract

Immigration from developing countries to the US generally increases access to health care and clean water, but it also introduces some unhealthy lifestyle patterns, such as diets dense in energy and little regular physical activity. We present a transdisciplinary model of child health and examine the impact of immigration on the physical growth and health of Maya children in Guatemala and the US. Maya-American children are much taller and have longer legs, on average, than their counterparts in Guatemala. This suggests that immigration to the US improves their health. However, the Maya-American children also are much heavier than both Guatemalan Maya and White American children, and have high rates of overweight and obesity. Quantile regression analysis indicates that Maya are shorter except in the upper tail of the stature distribution, and have higher Body Mass Index (BMI) in the tails, but not in the middle of the BMI distribution. Leisure time spent in front of a television or computer monitor tends to raise BMI in the middle and lower tail of the distribution, but not in the upper tail.

Keywords: Maya-American children, Anthropological assessments, Health, Immigration

JEL Classification: I10, I31, J15

Suggested Citation

Smith, Patricia K. and Bogin, Barry and Varela Silva, Maria Ines and Loucky, James, Economic and Anthropological Assessments of the Health of Children in Maya Immigrant Families in the Us. Economics and Human Biology, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 145-160. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=416461

Patricia K. Smith (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Dearborn - Department of Social Sciences ( email )

Dearborn, MI 48128
United States

Barry Bogin

Loughborough University ( email )

Maria Ines Varela Silva

University of Michigan at Dearborn - Department of Behavioral Sciences ( email )

School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences
Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU
United Kingdom

James Loucky

Western Washington University - Department of Anthropology ( email )

Bellingham, WA 98225
United States

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