Researchers have found that children who live in cites have a higher rate of food allergies than those who live in the country, suffering from the same allergies twice as often!
A study with a sample of 38,465 children ages 18 an under and categorized by ZIP Code had an astonishing outcome, especially with the two most common foods: Shellfish and Peanuts. To break the study down look at the following graph:
Urban Children Rural Children
Food Allergies 9.8% 6.2%
Shellfish Allergy 2.4% 0.8%
Peanut Allergy 2.8% 1.3%
Although the severity of food allergies did differ between the two groups almost 40% of all the children with food allergies had already suffered at least one sever, life-threating reaction.
Between 1997 and 2007 the rate of children with food allergies has increased by 20 percent; and children with food allergies are 2-4 times more likely to suffer from asthma or allergies to other things as well. Scientists are not sure why the rate of allergies is rising so steadily or why the difference in environment has an effect.
Some researchers are attributing the increasingly germophobic outlook in society to the rapid changes. A study done by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center showed that children with high levels of antibacterial chemicals in their blood had approximately double the risk of developing environmental and food allergies.
Children living in rural areas are more likely to come in contact or close proximity to dirt and farm animals which increases the variety of microbes than that of urban children. A Finnish study found that the greater the level of biodiversity in a child’s environment, the lower the prevalence of allergies of all types. They summarized that the wider verity of microbes also include many “friendly” ones hat colonize in the body and help fight inflammatory diseases. This is especially important in children who are still developing their immune systems.
So, if you live in a city, be sure to go out to the country on a regular basis and let your kids make all the mud pies their little hearts desire!! It’s fun and beneficial for their health!
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