Recent studies have shown that Amish children living on farms in northern Indiana are less predisposed to contracting allergies and asthma than Swiss farm children. The Amish, most of who are descendants of the Swiss. Seem to be more protected than the European children of common farms according to the study.
Dr. Mark Holbreich, lead research author, acknowledges that they haven’t yet identified what it is that causes this difference in asthmatic and allergic prevalence distinguished between animal-exposed children on both Swiss farms and Amish farms.
While this was being investigated by researchers in Europe, over the past several years Dr. Holbreich decided to expand the research to the Amish community in Indiana. Medical transportation shifted samples from farm children between the ages of six and twelve. 157 Amish families were included and tested against 3000 families living on Swiss farms and about 11 000 children from Swiss families who don’t reside on a farm and might have only spent short holidays on one. The “farm effect”, as it has been coined, has been closely examined by Holbreich. He has been treating children and adults alike on Amish farms for twenty years.
According to the study, only five percent of Amish farm-dwelling children had been diagnosed with asthma. This is in contrast to just under seven percent of Swiss farm children and over eleven percent of the other Swiss children who don’t call a farm their home.
In addition, large samples of kids were given a skin-prick test and after each medical courier had transported all samples to the research facilities, only seven percent showed signs of being predisposed to allergies as opposed to twenty-five percent of those raised on Swiss farms and a large forty-four percent of other Swiss children.
With these results showing that there is definitely a large difference in the number of asthma and allergy cases between farm children and those living in the city, what is even more interesting in that there is even less prevalence in those living in Amish communities. Although effects can be largely attributed to difference in prevalence and variations of bacteria, they still can’t quite pinpoint exactly what is causing farm children to exhibit such different results.