HEADLINE: Is immigration to the U.S. hazardous to health?

In a wide-ranging body of research and practice, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is discovering strong links between immigration to the United States and a decline in health.  That research and practice is described in a UC Newsroom story.

“America is a nation of immigrants drawn from all parts of the world by the promise of freedom and a good life. But a substantial body of evidence suggests that for the newly arrived, life in the United States can be hazardous to their well-being.”

Research and community-based programming being delivered by UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health paint a nuanced picture of immigration and health disparities. Poor food access, for example, may be exacerbated by fewer social ties, language barriers, and simply not knowing how to pursue available resources, including the health care system.

Discrimination is another factor in creating health disparities between immigrant and native-born populations. The globalization of American dietary practices – including a diet heavy in processed food – has also had some impact on immigrant health.

One researcher posits the notion that “civil rights are also health policies.”

UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health has recently published an online magazine – The Dream about research and programs that focus on issues relevant to immigrant populations and health.

The work being done at UCLA is part of a larger University of California Global Food Initiative, which seeks to harness the resources of all 10 UC campuses to address a critical issue of our time: How to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025.