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  • Socio-Economic and Health Conditions of an Afro-Mexican Rural Population in the State of Veracruz, Mexico, 2007 / Condiciones Socioeconómicas y De Salud De Una Población Afromexicana Rural, del estado de Veracruz, México. 2007.
  • Gabriel Saucedo, Marlen Garcia, and Florentino Virgen Castro
  • Socio-Economic and Health Conditions of an Afro-Mexican Rural Population in the State of Veracruz, Mexico, 2007
  • Gabriel Saucedo1 (bio), Marlen Garcia2, and Florentino Virgen Castro3

The black population's biological, historical and sociocultural impact on the Mexican people is unquestionable. However, there has never been a study of the state of this population's health that focuses on the Afro-Mexican population as a socio-historic variable in a rural and regional context. Such a study could be of great importance if we consider that, for a democracy such as Mexico's, discrepancies in health levels for different social/racial groups in communities, municipalities and states are a good measure of the level of social justice achieved by a given group. In other words, differences in health are often due to social, economic, political and cultural conditions that in some way limit or favor resource accessibility.

Ethno-historical and socio-cultural research into Mexico's third racial origin has been surging since the end of the twentieth century. Moreover, a group of biomedical researchers has maintained a degree of interest in Afro-Mexican, and other, populations. As a result of such interest, work of great importance has been realized. Nevertheless, there seems to be a lack of interest in studying the state of these populations' health—especially an interest that focuses on the state of the Afro-Mexican population as a socio-historic variable in its rural and regional contexts (the current Afro-Mexican population is established primarily along the coasts of the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, as well as Veracruz, Tabasco and Campeche).

Emerging problems

In the past few decades, lifestyle and physical activity among both urban and rural populations have been modified throughout the country: generally, caloric intake has increased and exercise has notably decreased. The result has been an upswing in the incidence of excess weight/obesity and in cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, and other issues. Ethnicity, from a socio-historical point of view, is one of the factors that determine health and lifestyle: while descendents of indigenous Americans and Asians have a higher susceptibility to diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, and low HDL cholesterol, descendents of the black population have a higher frequency of arterial hypertension and extreme obesity. Still, in Mexico there are virtually no studies dealing [End Page 147] with the health and nutrition of the Afro-Mexican population, and the official statistics on health and population offer little insight into the differences between rural and urban areas or indigenous and mestizo populations.

Based on the above factors, a study of these populations focusing on the Afro-Mexican population as a socio-historical variable—that is to say, a study of the health of the population with rural and regional history, culture, political relations and economy as contextual background—is of great importance. Various forms of cardiovascular diseases cause 12 million deaths a year around the world; together, they are the number one cause of death among adults. Despite the immense impact of the problem and the acknowledged connection between socio-historic context and cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, these risk factors have primarily been studied in isolation, without consideration for the historical, social and cultural contexts. The largest attempt at a comparative study between white, black and Hispanic populations undertaken to date was conducted in the U.S.A.

The Afro-Mexican population is located in isolated regions where it has historically grown of sugar cane and raised cattle and fish. In some places, families are connected to agricultural industries that take part in the national and international marketplaces. In other places, technological advances continue to be rudimentary and products to be limited to the consumption levels of the family and the local market. Certainly, socio-demographic and epidemiological processes follow the patterns of the rural and marginal Mexican population. In this manner, it is possible to suppose a likely risk of malnutrition...


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