Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2013
The epidemiological paradox and ‘healthy migrant effect’ refer to the favourable health outcomes in unprivileged groups under unfavourable socioeconomic conditions. Weight at birth is associated with the epidemiological paradox. However, differences in fertility structure (mainly mother's age and first maternity) might be the cause of the difference in weight at birth between children of immigrant and non-immigrant mothers. This paper aims to analyse the impact of the epidemiologic paradox by distinguishing between the factors related to fertility structure, in addition to other socio-cultural factors. The importance of fertility structure as the cause of weight-at-birth differences of the newborns of immigrant and non-immigrant women, and between those of subgroups of immigrant mothers, is tested. Based on data from birth registries for the period 1998–2009, a variance analysis was performed for Spanish mothers and for those of five major immigrant subgroups living in the region of Valencia, Spain, which experienced significant migrant inflows within a short period of time. A Scheffé test between pairs of nationalities was carried out. Finally, linear regression models were built. The results suggest that the most relevant factors are those related to fertility structure, and that consequently the epidemiological paradox does not apply for immigrant mothers as a whole, although Bolivian immigrant offspring may be an exception. This unexpected result requires further research to test to what extent this is due to the special adaptation of multigenerational high-altitude populations in pregnancy. The factors associated with fertility structure must be controlled when trying to relate birth weight differences between ethnic groups to socioeconomic factors.
Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.