Using Anthropometric Indicators for Mexicans in the United States and Mexico to Understand the Selection of Migrants and the "Hispanic Paradox"
Anthropometric measures including height provide an indication of childhood health that allows exploration of relationships between early life circumstances and adult health. Height can also be used to provide some indication of how early life health is related to selection of migrants and the Hispanic paradox in the United States. This article joins information on persons of Mexican nativity ages 50 and older in the United States collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV (NHANES IV 1999-2002) with a national sample of persons of the same age living in Mexico from the Mexican Health and Aging Survey (MHAS 2001) to examine relationships between height, education, migration, and late-life health. Mexican immigrants to the United States are selected for greater height and a high school, rather than higher or lower, education. Return migrants from the United States to Mexico are shorter than those who stay. Height is related to a number of indicators of adult health. Results support a role for selection in the Hispanic paradox and demonstrate the importance of education and childhood health as determinants of late-life health in both Mexico and the United States.