Why Amish Kids Have Fewer Allergies. Could We All Learn from Their Example?

Bare feet on a dirt road: a healthy combination.Allergies are a common cause of concern for many modern parents. From being careful when introducing solid foods to reading up on chemical hazards, there are plenty of ways to reduce risk. But one of the most effective methods may be one of the simplest - don't let your kids live too clean a life.

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You see, early exposure to dust, dirt, bacteria and all that other small stuff we try to eliminate from our lives may play a crucial role in building our kids immune systems and overall health.

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The "play in the dirt" approach to healthy parenting may have just gotten another boost in the form of research - reported on over at redOrbit - that Amish kids have remarkably low rates of allergies, even compared to Swiss children who are recognized Globally for their own lack of allergies:

Dr. Holbreich polled 157 Amish families, approximately 3,000 Swiss families who lived on farms, and nearly 11,000 Swiss families who did not live on farms, all of whom had children between the ages six and twelve, Grens said. He discovered that only 5% of the Amish kids had been diagnosed with asthma, while 6.8% of farm-raised Swiss kids and 11.2% of other Swiss kids had received such a diagnosis.

While the research failed to identify a specific cause for such low rates, the suggested reasons all share something in common. From spending more time in barns and outdoors, through drinking raw milk, to living in larger families, it really does seem like getting a little dirty on a regular basis can help give our kids a clean bill of health.

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