Mexican Paradox

The Mexican paradox is the observation that the Mexican people exhibit a surprisingly low incidence of low birth weight, contrary to what would be expected from their socioeconomic status (SES). This appears as an outlier in graphs correlating SES with low-birth-weight rates.

It has been proposed that resistance to changes in diet is responsible for the positive birth weight association for Mexican-American mothers.

Nevertheless, the medical causes of lower rates of low birth weights (LBW) among birthing Mexican mothers has been called into question.

The results of the study showed that the mean birth weight of Mexican-American babies was 3.34 kg (7.37 lbs), while that of non-Hispanic White babies was 3.39 kg (7.48 lbs.). This finding re-emphasized the independence of mean birth weight and LBW. This however did not refute the discrepancies in LBW for Mexicans.

The study also showed that the overall preterm birth rate was higher among Mexican Americans (10.6%) than non-Hispanic Whites (9.3%).

The overall hypothesis of the authors was that this finding reflected an error in recorded gestational age, described in a strongly bimodal birth-weight distribution at young gestational ages for Mexican-Americans.

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