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Farm Living Inversely Linked with Skin Allergy

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol; ePub 2018 Apr 6, Patel, et al

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.