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Coll Antropol. 2004 Dec;28(2):885-90.

Chinese women in Italy--menarche, pregnancy and maternity.

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  • 1Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.


The purpose of this study was to assess the well-being and health status of Chinese immigrant women in Italy. The subjects (mean 29.5 years) frequented the "Health Center for Foreign Women and their Children" in Bologna, Italy. Information on living conditions, biological characteristics and pregnancy or maternity was obtained through interviews of the women in the Center during normal medical visits. Data on menarche age were based on the retrospective method since all the women were in China at the onset of menarche. Social factors influencing the health and behavior of Chinese women in Italian society are discussed. The analysis on children sex ratio at birth indicates that the old cultural Chinese tradition of son preference still continues to exist. These women have achieved a socio-economic improvement and generally good health status in Italy. The difficult living conditions they faced in China are indirectly reflected in their delayed puberty (14.4 +/- 1.4 years). The delayed sexual development was probably due to the same situation of severe poverty that forced them to migrate.

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