Breathing easy: farm upbringing best defence against allergies

Breathing easy: farm upbringing best defence against allergies

Protection against allergies and asthma in children who grow up on farms extends into their adulthood and may be linked to other health benefits, a new study reveals.

A long-running international analysis, led by Australian researchers, also found that women who lived on farms as small children had stronger lungs than those raised inner city.

The research published in The BMJ‘s Thorax journal studied more than 10,000 participants aged 26 – 54, from 14 centres around the world, including about 500 Australians.

Their lung strength and sensitivity to allergens was tested and they were asked about environmental factors in their early lives, including whether they had pets, older siblings, if they shared a bedroom and where they had lived.

As adults, children who had lived on a farm before age six were 54 per cent less likely to have asthma or hay fever and 57 per cent less likely to have allergic nasal symptoms compared to city kids.

Suburban kids, or those who lived in a town or village as small children were only slightly less likely to have asthma or hay fever as an adult than those from the city.

“As any parent with a small child knows, childcare centres are hotbeds of viruses and bacteria, but it turns out that’s nothing compared to a farm,” says lead author Brittany Campbell from the University of Melbourne’s Allergy and Lung Health Unit.

“We found that for kids in villages, towns, suburbs and cities, not even day care or living with cats, dogs and older siblings came close to endowing the protective effects that appear to come with life on a farm.” …Read More>>

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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