August 17, 2023 – Latino children who live in states with more anti-immigrant prejudice and tougher policies aimed at immigrants are more likely to experience health issues, according to a study co-authored by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study, published August 15 in the journal Pediatrics, was led by Natalie Slopen, assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences.
An August 15 CNN article about the study noted that, in general, Latino children are known to experience more health issues than non-Latino white children, potentially because systemic inequities—such as laws aimed at excluding them from obtaining health care or housing—lead to chronic stress.
The study found that in states with higher levels of systemic inequities, as measured by prejudicial attitudes toward Latino communities as well as policies considered exclusionary toward immigrants, Latino children were more likely to experience chronic physical health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, as well as mental health conditions. Alaska, Alabama, and Nebraska had the highest levels of inequities, while California had the lowest.
“Our hope is that these findings can inform future studies to identify macro-level approaches to address health inequities,” Slopen said.
Jack Shonkoff, Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development, was also a co-author of the study.