The health of Mexican Americans: Evidence from the human population laboratory studies

R. E. Roberts, E. S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Data are presented from sample surveys conducted in 1974 (N = 3,119) and 1975 (N = 657) in Alameda County, California, by the Human Population Laboratory. Mexican Americans are compared to Anglos and Blacks on selected health status indicators: chronic conditions, disability, symptoms and a summary measure, the Physical Health Spectrum. Comparisons of crude percentages indicate that, compared to Anglos, Blacks report having more chronic conditions, more disability and more symptoms, while Chicanos generally report fewer health problems than these 2 groups. Controlling for the effects of age, sex, education, family income, marital status, and perceived health reduces the Anglo/Black differentials in reported health problems, primarily by reducing the rates for Blacks. However, even after adjustment the prevalence rates for Blacks remain higher. After controlling for the effects of the 6 covariates, the rates for Chicanos remain essentially unchanged in both samples, e.g., lower than the other groups. Results of binary regression analysis indicate that the 2 most powerful predictors of health status in both samples are age/sex and perceived health. Ethnicity overall is not a good predictor of health status, accounting for 1% or less of the explained variance. Socioeconomic status, while predicting slightly better than ethnicity, still accounts for less than 2% of the variance in health status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-384
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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