TIME Research

Kids Who Grew Up on Farms Have Fewer Allergies: Study

It may have to do with bugs, air pollution and fresh air

People who grow up on a farm tend to have lower allergy risk than their rural and urban counterparts, according to new research.

Researchers behind the study, published in the journal Thorax, evaluated data from more than 10,000 people living in 14 countries. Adults who grew up on farms were less likely to respond to allergens and have nasal symptoms of allergies, according to the study. These adults were also 54% less likely to have asthma or hayfever.

Researchers remain unsure what drives the correlation between spending childhood on a farm and the development of allergies, though they speculated that exposure to certain microbes, air pollution and physical activity could all play a role.

The study also suggests a correlation between lung strength and growing up a farm. Women who lived on a farm before age 5 consistently had stronger lungs as adults. The correlation was not significant in men.

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