Project I focuses on the health and development of Mexican children of immigrants ages 0 to 5. Mexican origin children are known to be at disproportionate risk for a number of physical, behavioral, and developmental disorders, and research addressing these health issues has been described as an urgent priority. The broad aims of Project I are to investigate how immigration and assimilation processes shape the family circumstances of Mexican-origin children, and to analyze how family circumstances, in turn, shape children's health outcomes. The project will use data from the birth cohort ofthe Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-B), the National Health Interview Survey linked to Office of Immigration Statistics records (NHIS-OIS), and the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS) to: (1) determine the relative merits of various approaches to the conceptualization and measurement of young children's health, with an emphasis on understanding interethnic health disparities;(2) demonstrate the role of family contexts in interethnic health disparities;and (3) investigate how immigration influences family contexts, and how immigration and family contexts jointly shape intraethnic health disparities. The project will classify children across health conditions as well as within conditions;unpack race-ethnicity and immigration experience in terms of specific aspects ofthe family context that may affect young children's health and development;follow individual children longitudinally to assess the links between immigration, assimilation, the family context, and child health;investigate the role of parents'legal immigration status;and place the study of U.S. Mexican-origin children in a broader context using binational data. The project is highly relevant to public health because of the rising number of Mexican-origin children of immigrants and limited knowledge about their health and development.

Public Health Relevance

This project will provide new information about the health and development of Mexican children of immigrants and Mexican, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic black children of natives. Mexican-origin children are at disproportionate risk for a number of physical, behavioral, and developmental disorders. The study will inform policy makers and health professionals about their health needs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-W)
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Pennsylvania State University
University Park
United States
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Howe Hasanali, Stephanie (2015) Immigrant-Native Disparities in Perceived and Actual Met/Unmet Need for Medical Care. J Immigr Minor Health 17:1337-46
Van Hook, Jennifer; Bean, Frank D; Bachmeier, James D et al. (2014) Recent trends in coverage of the Mexican-born population of the United States: results from applying multiple methods across time. Demography 51:699-726
Bámaca-Colbert, Mayra Y; Greene, Kaylin M; Killoren, Sarah E et al. (2014) Contextual and developmental predictors of sexual initiation timing among Mexican-origin girls. Dev Psychol 50:2353-9
Landale, Nancy S; Oropesa, R S; Noah, Aggie J (2014) Immigration and the Family Circumstances of Mexican-Origin Children: A Binational Longitudinal Analysis. J Marriage Fam 76:24-36
Van Hook, Jennifer; Bachmeier, James D (2013) How Well Does the American Community Survey Count Naturalized Citizens? Demogr Res 29:1-32
Van Hook, Jennifer; Baker, Elizabeth; Altman, Claire E et al. (2012) Canaries in a coalmine: Immigration and overweight among Mexican-origin children in the US and Mexico. Soc Sci Med 74:125-34