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Region of Birth, Sex, and Reproductive Health in Rural Immigrant Latino Farmworkers: The MICASA Study

Authors

  • Stephen A. McCurdy MD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, California
    • For further information, contact: Stephen A. McCurdy, MD, MPH, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616-8638; e-mail: samccurdy@ucdavis.edu.

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  • Maria T. Stoecklin-Marois PhD, MPH,

    1. Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, California
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  • Daniel J. Tancredi PhD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, California
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  • Tamara E. Hennessy-Burt MS,

    1. Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, California
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  • Marc B. Schenker MD, MPH

    1. Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, California
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  • Disclosures: None.

  • Funding: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Grant # 2 U50 OH007550 and 1RO1OH009293; The California Endowment.

  • Acknowledgments: We thank the entire Mendota community for its support and participation.

Abstract

Purpose

Characterize sexual and reproductive health among immigrant Latino farmworkers.

Methods

We surveyed 806 immigrant Latino farmworkers from Mexico and Central America in a rural agricultural community in California's Central Valley.

Findings

A total of 556 respondents were born in Mexico (272 men, 284 women) and 250 in Central America (135 men, 115 women). The majority entered the United States as young adults, with median age at immigration ranging from 20 (Mexican-born men) to 24 (Central American-born women). Nearly 95% of respondents were married or cohabiting. Median age for sexual debut was 18 for women and was younger for men (adjusted mean difference: –2.1 years, 95% CI: –2.6 to –1.7). Median number of lifetime sexual partners was 1 for women and greater for men (adjusted mean difference: 2.0 partners, 95% CI: 1.3-2.7). Contraception use was less likely among men and among Central American women compared to Mexico-born women. Among sexually active persons not using contraception, the most common reasons for nonuse were “Don't want to”/”Don't like any” followed by desire to become or being pregnant. Women reported a median of 3 pregnancies; there were no significant differences based on respondents’ region of birth.

Conclusions

This group of Latino immigrants demonstrated behaviors conducive to reproductive health: late sexual debut, few lifetime sexual partners, and high prevalence of marriage. Preventive education campaigns should focus on maintaining healthy behaviors, especially in men. Identifying groups with common provenance and cultural heritage may aid in maximizing acceptability and effectiveness of prevention programs.

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