Objectives: This study investigated whether objective health indicators explained lower self-rated health among Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic Whites. It also considered socioeconomic and cultural explanations.
Methods: Health ratings of 429 Hispanics and 583 non-Hispanic Whites aged 20 through 74 were analyzed with logistic regression.
Results: Illness indicators were found to be strongly correlated with self-rated health in both ethnic groups, but after such markers were controlled for, Hispanics remained 3.6 times more likely to report fair or poor health (95% confidence interval = 2.4, 5.3). Adjustment for socioeconomic factors accounted for a portion of Hispanics' lower health rating, but the strongest explanatory factor was acculturation.
Conclusions: Because of cultural and economic influences on definitions of health, ethnic differences in self-assessed health may not accurately reflected patterns resulting from objective health measurements.