Comparing the Health Status of Foreign-Born and Native-Born Blacks

A new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and the National Center for Health Research finds that while foreign-born Blacks tend to have better overall health than African Americans born in the United States, the advantage tends to shrink the longer foreign-born Blacks live in this country.

dinwiddieGniesha Dinwiddie, an assistant professor of African American studies at the University of Maryland and a co-author of the study, believes the advantage dissipates due to increased exposure to stress which makes individuals more susceptible to disease. This stress can be related to racial discrimination, incidents of racism, or micro-aggressions.

“We hope that the results of our study can be used to create policy that reduces exposure to the social risk factors that condition acute and chronic stressors in which Blacks are continuously over exposed to,” Dr. Dinwiddie said. “Moreover, developing appropriate interventions tailored to specific needs of a diverse Black population are tantamount for eliminating health disparities and improving population health.”

Dr. Dinwiddie is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine. She holds a master’s degree in African American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

The study, “Allostatic Load in Foreign-Born and US-Born Blacks: Evidence From the 2001–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” was published in the American Journal of Public Health. It may be accessed here.

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  1. It’s quite evident that the more one from the African Diaspora is exposed to American implicit and explicit racism over the course of time, they develop the same health issues as native born Blacks. What this study should have examined is how to eradicate White American racism in order to improve the overall health for those visually detected as non-White.

    • Michael: Perhaps Professor Dinwiddie should examine White American racism as a mental health disease and its impact on the overall health of African Americans who are the descendants of African enslaved.
      It stands to reason that the more exposure to American White racism that one will become more susceptible to stress and hypertension from the dominate culture.
      Black migrants coming to the United States from various Caribbean Island nations, Central and South America do not have an immune system that will insulate them from the deep seated structural systemic racism or the individual racism. Thus after any significant period of time in the US the Black migrants acquire these same dreaded dominate culture diseases which should not come a surprise to most learned people.

      White racism in white institutions must be eradicated by white people and not just Black people. In fact white racism is primarily a white responsibility.

  2. Thanks much for the study, which is relevant and contemporaneously topical. However, no new scholarly ground has been covered. Thus, I agree with Michael and Ronald. I am an Afro-Latino/Caribbean, who has lived in the USA for many decades. And we non-native born African Americans are quite aware of these “deep-seated” racial pathologies. Like you, we have to adjust, learn to live and cope with these nefarious issues for survival.

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