Will Millennials Challenge The Hispanic Health Paradox?

If you look at the statistics, the numbers don’t add up. While non-Hispanic Whites have higher income and education levels, two factors that tend to correlate with longer life, U.S. Hispanics, who average far less income and lower education levels, still have the tendency to outlive them.

And if that leaves you scratching your head, you’re not alone. The Hispanic Health Paradox has baffled researchers for almost 30 years, with theories ranging from healthier Hispanics immigrants to the importance of Hispanic cultural values. But we were curious, in particular, about U.S. Hispanic Millennials and the role they play in the mystery, and the impact that could have on healthcare marketing.

In a recent study, we delved into certain healthcare topics to identify key points of contrast between Hispanic Millennials and their non-Hispanic White cohorts we concluded that Hispanic Millennials are:

Less Stressed



The number of non-Hispanic White millennials who reported their overall stress levels as very or somewhat stressful was 27% higher than their Hispanic counterparts. The non-Hispanic White group reporting that they were experiencing very high stress levels was twice that of Hispanic Millennials.

This seems to support the argument that Hispanic cultural values, such as familismo and personalismo, may play a factor in their overall health since having close family ties and large, supportive social networks correlates with better health. 

More Optimistic and Active

Per our study, 70% of Hispanic Millennials were Optimistic or Extremely Optimistic about the future compared to just 52% of non-Hispanic White Millennials. Results also indicate that they’re more active, with 57% of Hispanic Millennials stating that they exercise four or more times per week, compared to non-Hispanic Whites at 47%.

Other pro-health behaviors Hispanic Millennials engage in include a 10% greater likelihood to watch their weight and a lower likelihood to consume alcohol or smoke than non-Hispanic Whites. 

Prefer Natural Food, Trust Their Doctors

When it comes to diet, we found that non-Hispanic Whites were 33% more likely to be concerned about calories while Hispanics focused their attention on saturated fats and carbs.

Interestingly, 6% of non-Hispanic Whites were concerned about Gluten vs. only 2% of Hispanic Millennials. On the flip side, “organic foods” seems to resonate more among Hispanic Millennials as they’re 25% more likely to research them online, matching their overall preference for less-processed, more natural food. 

Concerning their physical health, the Hispanic Health Paradox suggests that Hispanics have significantly higher survival rates when diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and other medical conditions (except in Cancer and HIV/AIDS cases). Hispanic Millennials are less concerned with Cancer than Diabetes. But since skin cancer rates have increased by 20% among U.S. Hispanics over the past two decades, far exceeding the growth rate for non-Hispanic Whites, we could see that change. 

And while the Internet is listed as a likely source to use when looking for health-related information or advice, by about 63% of Hispanic and non-Hispanic Millennials alike, only 18% of Hispanic Millennials and 22% of non-Hispanic Millennials consider the Internet to be their most trusted source of information.

Doctors are used by an equal 63% of Millennials but are considered most-trusted by 53% of Hispanic Millennials and 46% of non-Hispanic Millennials.

Influenced by Acculturation?

Up until this point, most of the research conducted on the Hispanic Health Paradox has centered on nativity, following the lives of Hispanics who’ve immigrated to the U.S. from other countries. But some theories suggests that the advantages in greater life expectancy will begin to diminish as Hispanic Millennials, especially those born and residing in the U.S., adopt behaviors such as smoking and eating fast foods.

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