Farm living is inversely associated with allergy, including skin allergy, suggesting that environmental exposures may protect against allergy not only in childhood, but also in late adulthood. This according to a recent study that examined the association between residence and allergy in 25,393 women aged 55-69 years in the large prospective Iowa Women's Health Study (IWHS). IWHS questionnaires collected information on socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics, medical history, lifestyle behaviors, dietary intake, residence, and allergy. Residence reported at baseline (1986) was categorized into 5 groups based on living on a farm, rural, or urban areas, and population size. Researchers found:
- Compared to large city of >10,000 residents, those living on farm, rural, and smaller urban areas had decreased odds ratios of overall, skin, and other allergy in age and multivariable-adjusted models.
- The multivariable odd ratios (ORs) for farm vs large city were decreased for overall allergy: 0.72 (0.66, 0.78) and all allergy types including asthma: 0.87 (0.75, 1.00), hay fever: 0.77 (0.69, 0.88), skin: 0.76 (0.68, 0.86), and other allergy: 0.76 (0.68, 0.86).
Patel NP, Prizment AE, Thyagarajan B, et al. Urban versus rural residency and allergy prevalence among adult women: Iowa Women's Health Study. [Published online ahead of print April 6, 2018]. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2018.03.029.
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