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A recent study led by Dr. Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, analyzed how race affects asthma disparities among Mexican Americans. 

Specifically, Dr. Marquez-Velarde was interested in learning how race influences the likelihood of having an asthma diagnosis for Black and white Mexican Americans and Black and white Non-Hispanic Americans. She considers and disputes the “Hispanic Paradox” that U.S. Hispanics experience better health than Non-Hispanic white Americans despite their relative socioeconomic disadvantages. 

The study included 1,094,516 female and male participants, composed of Black and white Mexican Americans and Black and white Non-Hispanic Americans, ages 18 and up. Data were obtained from the 2000 – 2018 National Health Interview Survey. Statistical analysis was adjusted for demographic, acculturation, and health behavior-related variables. 

The study ultimately found that Black Mexican Americans were significantly more likely to have a diagnosis of asthma than white Mexican Americans (p < 0.01). These results held after adjusting for socioeconomic factors. A similar trend was noted for Non-Hispanic Black Americans and Non-Hispanic white Americans diagnosed with asthma. 

Dr. Marquez-Velarde reflects on how racial inequality independent of ethnicity affects health outcomes even after adjusting for socioeconomic factors. It contributes in many ways, including discrimination, structural violence, socioeconomic deprivation, and environmental racism. 

The study suggests that race influences asthma disparities among Black and white Mexican Americans. Moreover, it asserts that the “Hispanic Paradox” does not apply across racial lines for Mexican Americans. A call to action is made advocating for further research on how race impacts asthma disparities among Black Hispanic Americans in general and Black Mexican Americans in particular [1]. 

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[1] Marquez-Velarde, G. (2020). The paradox does not fit all: Racial disparities in asthma among Mexican Americans in the U.S. PLOS ONE, 15(11), e0242855. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242855