I was flipping through one of the many farming magazines that come across my office desk the other day and a short article caught my eye. It was the magazine Farm Life and was entitled, “Farm Kids are healthier.” It was a short article that talks about a new study being done that is researching why kids who grow up in an agricultural environment have less asthma, wheezing and allergic reactions than non-farm children. My first thought was, I had no idea that this was the case…my second thought was, this is really awesome!
The study that will conclude in 2017 is going to be looking at 100 pregnant farm women and 100 pregnant non-farm women searching for anything that might pinpoint why farm kids are growing up healthier. Matthew C. Keifer, MD, MPH is the investigator for this study and is working with the National Farm Medicine Center and University of Wisconsin. “Allergic conditions are overreactions of the immune system. If we can figure out what it is about the farm environment that modulates or calms down the immune system, we can probably develop a method to get that kid of remedy available to non-farm kids.”
While I’m sure this isn’t always the case across the board. I do think that it will be very fascinating to see if anything can be pinpointed in a life surrounded by agriculture that helps with asthma and allergies. I will say that from a personal experience as a homegrown farm kid from a grass seed farm, that grass pollen that makes many in Oregon miserable for weeks on end has never even caused me to sniffle. It’s not scientific I know, but maybe there is something to that outside exposure….or like I said before maybe it’s just all the dirt I ate as a kid!