Send to

Choose Destination
BMC Public Health. 2019 Feb 12;19(1):181. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-6523-9.

Do social factors and country of origin contribute towards explaining a "Latina paradox" among immigrant women giving birth in Germany?

Author information

Department of Epidemiology and International Public Health, School of Public Health, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.
Department of Epidemiology and International Public Health, School of Public Health, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.
Department of Gynaecology, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Alice Salomon Hochschule, Berlin, Germany.



The "Latina paradox" describes the unexpected association between immigrant status, which is often correlated to low socioeconomic status, and low prevalence of unfavourable birth outcomes. Social (e.g. culture, religion) and/or non-social factors related to country of origin are potentially responsible for this paradox.


Questionnaire survey of 6413 women delivering in three large obstetric hospitals in Berlin (Germany) covering socioeconomic and migration status, country of origin (Turkey, Lebanon), and acculturation. Data was linked with routine obstetric data. Logistic regressions were performed to assess the effect of acculturation, affinity to religion and country of origin on preterm birth and small-for-gestational-age (SGA).


Immigrant women with a low level of acculturation (reference) were less likely to have a preterm birth than those who were highly acculturated (aOR: 1.62, 95%CI: 1.01-2.59), as were women from Turkey compared to non-immigrants (aOR: 0.49, 95%CI: 0.33-0.73). For SGA, we found no epidemiologic paradox; conversely, women from Lebanon had a higher chance (aOR: 1.72, 95%CI: 1.27-2.34) of SGA. Affinity to religion had no influence on birth outcomes.


There is evidence that low acculturation (but not affinity to religion) contributes towards explaining the epidemiologic paradox with regard to preterm birth, emphasising the influence of socioeconomic characteristics on birth outcomes. The influence of Turkish origin on preterm birth and Lebanese origin on SGA suggests that non-social factors relating to the country of origin are also at play in explaining birth outcome differences, and that the direction of the effect varies depending on the country of origin and the outcome.


Germany; Latina paradox; Lebanon; Pregnancy outcome; Turkey

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center