Economic and Anthropological Assessments of the Health of Children in Maya Immigrant Families in the Us
Posted: 11 Aug 2003
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
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