Urban kids have more allergies.
Data revealed that the odds of food allergies were significantly higher in more densely populated areas as compared to rural areas and small towns. Rates varied significantly from almost 10 percent prevalence in urban centers to only 6 percent in rural areas. The study also found that the most common food allergy was for peanuts, and milk and soy were two of the most consistent allergies throughout the various demographic areas.
One explanation for a higher prevalence of food allergies in urban areas is that exposure to certain “microbial agents’” or agitants earlier in life may somehow protect a child from developing food allergies later in life. Kind of the same argument for people who use sanitizers too much on their hands and become more susceptible to getting sick as it weakens their immune system. Either way, the association between food allergy prevalence steadily rose as population density rose as well, which makes it clear rural kids are far less likely to suffer from an allergies than their city-dwelling counterparts.
So, once again like in the Dirt Adds Value story from the NYT, linked on this blog, we need to be part of the natural world from the beginning for so many reasons. Farmers and farmers markets contribute to that familiarity and need to be recognized for that.