According to the New York Times, a growing body of mortality research on immigrants has shown that the longer they live in this country, the worse their rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. And while their American-born children may have more money, they tend to live shorter lives than the parents. Why worse health? Think about it. The adoption of American behaviors ÛÓ smoking, drinking, high calorie diets and sedentary lifestyles.
Robert O. Valdez, a professor of family and community medicine and economics at the University of New Mexico, told the Times, ÛÏAll the things we tell people to do from a clinical perspective today ÛÓ a lot of fiber and less meat ÛÓ were exactly the lifestyle habits that immigrants were normally keeping.Û
We should not be surprised at this. A country with supposedly the best health care system has a population that has an abundance of chronic conditions, mostly preventable. Yet unless we step up and take self-responsibility we will continue to be dependent on a health system that has little incentive to keep us healthy.