Culture

Surprise! People Who Live In Neighborhoods With More Immigrants Eat Healthier And Weigh Less

New research has emerged, showing that people who live in neighborhoods that boast a larger immigrant population eat better than those that don’t. For all of us who’ve lived in neighborhoods with a considerable immigrant population, this news is probably as startling as the revelation that water is wet. But, it’s important that bona fide research is conducted on the things that we already feel in our gut – in this case, literally – because it proves that, yes, we have good reason to think the things that we do.

Give us the highlights of the study.

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The researchers found three main things when they conducted the study. Firstly, that native-born Americans who live in neighborhoods with a higher immigrant population tend to eat less fast food and more fruit and vegetables than their less-immigrant-populated counterparts. Secondly, that those same native-born Americans have lower body mass indices, or BMIs. And thirdly, that these native-born Americans swimming in immigrant neighbors also have lower rates of hypertension. Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating that last part – there’s no swimming needed. But, the lower rates of hypertension still stand.

Whether you prefer Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Ethiopian – you’ll still see the benefits.

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The great thing is that it doesn’t matter what kind of immigrants set up shop in your neighborhood, native-born Americans still see the benefit. “In places with a high density of immigrants, whether it’s Latino immigrants or Asian immigrants, their native-born neighbors also go shopping a lot in those ethnic grocery stores, like those Mexican supermarkets or Chinese supermarkets. They buy fruits and vegetables at significantly lower prices than they would get at places like Walmart or Trader Joe’s,” Lu Shi, the lead author of the paper, said.

Okay but there could be a lot of other reasons for why people in immigrant neighborhoods are healthier!

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Here’s the beautiful thing: the study controlled, or took into account, things like socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and the level of education the respondents had received. So when the next neckbeard trolling on social media tries to argue with the findings, you can confidently say that the researchers know their stuff, and have ticked the boxes when it comes to conducting a legitimate study. In fact, you can even throw in the phrase, “the healthy immigrant effect,” to show that you’ve really done your homework. Essentially, it’s the tendency for US immigrants to have better health than their native-born counterparts.

There is one caveat: the study was conducted only on LA neighborhoods.

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Now that being said, the study was conducted in Los Angeles County neighborhoods, so it’s possible that the findings have only revealed something that’s true for Los Angeles County. Chances are that the researchers will have to look into testing other neighborhoods before they can say for sure that they’ve truly stumbled onto a winner. But that’s not going to stop us proposing to the Trump administration that they need to reconsider their stance on immigration. Who’s to say now that stationing a few immigrant families in every neighborhood won’t improve the nation’s health?

Naturally, Twitter’s got the receipts: we’ve always known immigrants are good at eating healthy.

Twitter / @fabucat

Even though this savvy user was commenting way back in 2014, the statement still stands. If Barack Obama had gotten everyone on a diet of immigrant food, everyone would now not only be healthier, but also probably happier. We’re pretty sure it’s scientifically impossible to be unhappy after eating a delicious taco/dumpling/massaman curry.

This babe is on the money.

Twitter / @chloereichel

While the respondents for the study were still indulging in less-than-healthy practices, native-born Americans living in an area with a higher immigrant population had 67 percent lower odds of regularly eating fast food, and 64 percent higher odds of eating the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables, as per the guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s not just about the fact that immigrants eat healthier, they are healthier, too.

Twitter / @imthatholly

The interesting thing is that this commenter isn’t wrong. It’s not just about the fact that immigrants eat healthier, they are healthier, too. This is something that the paper’s lead author points out – on average, Latina women smoke at lower rates than their peers, so it stands to reason that they lead by example and create a culture of non-smoking. By extension, it’s these “contagious” social norms that may factor into why native-born Americans living in immigrant-dense neighborhoods in the study were healthier: they’ve caught the bug of living healthy, so to speak.

Before you get all excited and haul your butt to the Korean barbecue joint down the road with the justification that it’s healthy, we should probably point out Shi’s little caveat: “Ethnic food outlets, like the Mexican lunch truck, the Chinese barbecue that you see on New York streets, those are not necessarily healthier than McDonald’s, KFC.” Sorry babes.

Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

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Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

dr.giammattei / Instagram

Tuesday marked a new era of leadership in Guatemala as the Latin country swore in Alejandro Giammattei, a conservative doctor and former prison system director from the right-wing Vamos party. The 63-year-old won the presidency on his fourth attempt back in August with bold promises of changing a corrupt government and restoring the rule-of-law in city streets. 

“Today, we are putting a full stop on corrupt practices so they disappear from the face of this country,” Giammattei said at his swearing-in ceremony that had a five-hour delay.

His ceremony somewhat overshadowed by delays and protests against ex-President Jimmy Morales, who for four years dodged accusations of corruption. The scene of protestors throwing eggs and voicing anger at the outgoing administration was a reminder of the displeasure against the country’s deep-seated political corruption. It’s also a key reason why many are looking to Giammattei to bring change to the struggling country. 

As Giammattei takes office, there are questions on what his presidency will mean to Guatemala in the short and long term as issues over the future of an asylum deal with the United States comes into focus. 

One of the biggest issues confronting Guatemala and one that Giammattei will have to address early is the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) that was signed by Morales last July with the U.S. government. The agreement, which was highly opposed in Guatemala, lets U.S. immigration officials send Honduran and Salvadoran migrants that are requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border to apply for protection here instead. There is now increasing skepticism as reports say that the U.S. wants to expand the deal to include Mexican asylum seekers as well.

Last year, there were many Guatemalans that were part of a 3,000 migrant caravan that made its way up from Latin America to the U.S. The caravan consisted of people that were looking to claim asylum and became a symbol of the growing migration crisis at the southern border. President Trump frequently attacked the caravan and eventually threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemala if it didn’t agree to the asylum deal.

According to the Guatemalan Migration Institute, “as of Friday, 128 Salvadoran and Honduran asylum seekers had been sent as part of the agreement,” with only a limited number actually applying for asylum there and others returning home. Giammattei has previously said that he’s willing to make changes to the agreement but on Tuesday said he would revisit details later. 

The country, one of Latin America’s poorest nations, is a key part of President Trump’s plan to curb illegal immigration and asylum claims. mostly from those coming to the U.S. Southern border. The issue for many living in Guatemala is how to let those seeking asylum when itself has become a major source of U.S. bound migrants. 

Poverty levels have only grown in the last 20 years and income inequality levels continue to be a big problem in the country. 

One of the big platform issues that Giammattei ran his campaign on was helping the shorten income inequality gap and poverty levels that have only grown in the last 20 years. Fifty-nine percent of Guatemalan citizens live below the poverty line and almost 1 million children under the age of 5 are believed to live with chronic malnutrition, according to the AP. 

There is also the rampant problem of street violence and cartel gangs that have had a major effect on the daily lives of many in the country. Giammattei plans to address this with reforms that include designating “street gangs as terrorist groups.”

“This is the moment to rescue Guatemala from the absurd. It is the moment to combat corruption and malnutrition,” Giammattei said on Tuesday in his first address to the country as president. “There is no peace without security, I will present a law that aims to declare street gangs for what they are – terrorist groups.”

There is hope that Giammattei will turn a new page in Guatemala that will see change come to all in the country that has faced uncertainty for years. But only time will tell if this is indeed new leadership or business as usual.

“We will bring back the peace this country so dearly needs,” Giammattei said. “We will govern with decency, with honourability, and with ethical values.”

READ: In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative

Mexican National Jumped To His Death Off A Bridge After He Was Denied Asylum

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Mexican National Jumped To His Death Off A Bridge After He Was Denied Asylum

El Mañana de Reynosa / Facebook

To understand why undocumented immigrants will do everything in their power to get to the United States is to fundamentally understand what is at the core of their fears. They are not all seeking the “American Dream” or to have a better life, many are seeking to have a life free of fear and violence. For many people seeking asylum, it’s a matter of life or death. Remaining in their home countries means death, and there’s no other way of saying it. People are dying at the hands of gangs and the cartels. So, when people risk their lives to enter the U.S. without documentation, it’s because they have nothing to lose. The worst part of all is being turned away by the U.S. because some of these have nothing else to live for. 

A Mexican national in his 30s or 40s cut his throat and jumped to his death off a bridge across the Rio Grande after he was denied by the U.S. border patrol.

Credit: @mlnangalama / Twitter

The man, who has yet to be identified, committed suicide on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and according to several news reports, was seeking asylum. Reports say that he jumped off the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, which is between the Mexican border city of Reynosa and Pharr, Texas. 

We attempted to reach information about his death via the U.S. border patrol. However, because the death occurred on Mexican soil, American officials do not have to comment about the death or include it in any of their reports. 

Mexican officials are investigating the death further.

Credit: El Mañana de Reynosa / Facebook

The prosecutor’s office for the Mexican state of Tamaulipas did release more information about the man saying, “He was attempting to cross to the U.S. side to request asylum. When he was denied entry, he walked several meters (yards) toward the Mexican side and cut himself with a knife.” The death occurred around 5 p.m. local time. 

It’s unclear why the man decided to take such extreme measures, but as we noted earlier, some of the undocumented people have said returning home is like facing death. 

According to footage made available to the Spanish-language publication, El Mañana de Reynosa, a video shows the man pacing back and forth on the bridge while officials attempt to calm him down.  The standoff lasted for about 15 minutes. Since the man was behaving dangerously, U.S. officials closed the gates to the border and stopped international entry. After the man jumped, the Red Cross arrived at the scene where he was pronounced dead. 

Undocumented people are facing even more hardships when getting denied asylum. Aside from “remaining in Mexico” until it’s time for their asylum hearing, some are now being transferred to Guatalama even if they’re Mexican.

Credit: El Mañana de Reynosa / Facebook

This week the Trump Administration announced that some Mexican nationals would be sent to Guatalama under near agreements between both country officials. 

“Certain Mexicans seeking humanitarian protection in the United States may now be eligible to be transferred to Guatemala and given the opportunity to seek protection there, under the terms of the Guatemala Asylum Cooperative Agreement,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement to NBC News.

To make matters worse, the outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said that agreement never became official. He said the U.S. would have to discuss the matter further with the new president. 

“It’s more than clear; in the agreement, it only lays out Salvadorans and Hondurans,” Morales said, according to Time magazine. “The United States has talked about the possibility of including Mexican nationals, but that they have to discuss it with the next government. In the last visit we made to the White House with President Trump we were clear saying that that negotiation had to be done with the new government.”

All of this disorganization by the part of the United States just complicates matters more for the vulnerable undocumented community. They seek to enter the United States, and getting turned away means more uncertainty than before. 

This is not the first time a person has committed suicide soon after being deported. 

Credit: @adv_project / Twitter

In 2017,  44-year-old Guadalupe Olivas Valencia also jumped to his death soon after he was deported to Mexico. He had been previously living in California, working as a gardener. 

READ: Trump Administration Plans To Send Some Mexican Asylum-Seekers To Guatemala And Mexico Is Fighting Back