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C. Keeping Healthy Habits Through the Generations

Narrator: This is Science Today. Sylvia Guendelman, a public health expert at the University of California, Berkeley, did a study showing that Mexican-American women born in Mexico have healthy, high-birth weight babies in spite of poverty and lack of formal pre-natal care. They also have relatively low rates of infant mortality.

Guendelman: Which means quite comparable to those of white non-Latinos and half of that of African-American populations.

Narrator: The reason, says Guendelman, is a healthy nutritious diet. The next generation, though, starts eating junk food, smoking and drinking, and as a result have less healthy babies. She says a way should be found to encourage those women to continue the healthy habits of Mexican-born women.

Guendelman: And it suggests on a very positive note that women can be empowered, even under conditions of poverty, to protect and maintain their health through behaviors that might be under partly some of their control.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.