The Hispanic epidemiological paradox in the fastest-growing state in the United States Article uri icon


  • The purpose of this study was to compare 42 different indicators for health behaviors, health conditions, and the perception of heath risks between the Hispanic population and the non-Hispanic White population in Nevada while accounting for acculturation. This study utilized the Nevada 2004–2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System population-based survey data. Nevada provided a unique population to examine this issue because Nevada has been the fastest-growing state in the United States for the past two decades, while Hispanics were the fastest-growing race/ethnic group in Nevada. Compared to the non-Hispanic White population, Hispanics reported less current smoking, less current asthma, less disability, greater receipt of the flu shot, less exposure to secondhand smoking inside the home, greater utilization of mammography and Pap smear screening, less intimate partner violence threat and intimate partner violence physical assault, greater perceived risk of marijuana and alcohol use perception, and less depressive disorder. On the other hand, Hispanics, compared to the non-Hispanic White population, reported less leisure-time physical activity, greater drinking and driving, lower self-reported health status, greater prevalence of diabetes, greater prevalence of being overweight or obese, greater exposure to secondhand smoking at the workplace or public or common areas, and less health care coverage. Despite the lower socioeconomic status and access to health care that place Hispanics at higher risk for adverse health conditions, this study shows that Hispanics were more likely to report beneficial health behaviors that may protect them from adverse health conditions and account for the Hispanic paradox. 

publication date

  • January 1, 2009