Immigrant Health Theories Questioned

Feb 24, 2012

Duke researchers say the reasons for a decline in health among recent immigrants may be more complicated than health experts thought. Duke Sociologist Jen'nan Read says researchers may have been drawing the wrong conclusion from data showing that immigrants arrive in the U.S. healthy and then become less so.

Jen'nan Read: There's been articles written: "Is Americanization bad for your health?" "Is acculturation into American society bad for you?" And so, policy is then focused on, what is it about being integrated into American society that's bad for you? The question I asked is, what is it that we use to draw those conclusions?

Read's study finds that many immigrants are simply unaware of their health problems because they tend not to see doctors as much, and not until long after they arrive, regardless of their legal status. Read says more focus is needed on bringing recent immigrants into the healthcare system.