Researchers in Sweden found that children exposed to horses and barnyard animals are 52% less likely to develop asthma.
Watch out, parents. Scientists have just given children valid evidence to argue their case for a new puppy or horseback riding lessons.
Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden found that growing up in homes with dogs reduces an infant’s chances of developing asthma before age six by 23%, and exposure to horses and other farm animals reduces the risk by an astonishing 52%!
Said Tove Fall, the study’s lead author:
“While the findings don’t prove that puppies prevent asthma, but they do suggest that expectant parents may not need to give away the family pet for fear their baby might develop asthma from being around the dog.
To let children have a pet in their home is likely to enrich the family life in many ways, and perhaps also enriches the child’s microbiome and immune system.”
Fall and his team reviewed data on more than one million children born in Sweden between 2001 through 2010, reports Newsweek. Their analysis included about 276,000 school-age kids, including nearly 22,000 with a parent who owned a dog during the child’s first year of life and about 950 with a parent who worked with farm animals.
Preschoolers had a 10 percent lower risk of asthma if they’d been exposed to dogs, and a 21 percent lower risk with exposure to farm animals.
Published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, their findings support what other studies have already confirmed: that one’s immunity can be boosted by being exposed to various environments – especially rural locations with plenty of barnyard animals.
Not only do animals such as puppies boost children’s’ immune systems, caring for a beloved pet helps teach young ones empathy and responsibility.
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