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The effects of growing up on a farm on adult lung function and allergic phenotypes: an international population-based study
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2017 (English)In: Thorax, ISSN 0040-6376, E-ISSN 1468-3296, Vol. 72, no 3, 236-244 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

RATIONALE: Evidence has suggested that exposure to environmental or microbial biodiversity in early life may impact subsequent lung function and allergic disease risk.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the influence of childhood living environment and biodiversity indicators on atopy, asthma and lung function in adulthood.

METHODS AND MEASUREMENTS: The European Community Respiratory Health Survey II investigated ∼10 201 participants aged 26-54 years from 14 countries, including participants' place of upbringing (farm, rural environment or inner city) before age 5 years. A 'biodiversity score' was created based on childhood exposure to cats, dogs, day care, bedroom sharing and older siblings. Associations with lung function, bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR), allergic sensitisation, asthma and rhinitis were analysed.

MAIN RESULTS: As compared with a city upbringing, those with early-life farm exposure had less atopic sensitisation (adjusted OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.58), atopic BHR (0.54 (0.35 to 0.83)), atopic asthma (0.47 (0.28 to 0.81)) and atopic rhinitis (0.43 (0.32 to 0.57)), but not non-atopic outcomes. Less pronounced protective effects were observed for rural environment exposures. Women with a farm upbringing had higher FEV1 (adjusted difference 110 mL (64 to 157)), independent of sensitisation and asthma. In an inner city environment, a higher biodiversity score was related to less allergic sensitisation.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to report beneficial effects of growing up on a farm on adult FEV1. Our study confirmed the beneficial effects of early farm life on sensitisation, asthma and rhinitis, and found a similar association for BHR. In persons with an urban upbringing, a higher biodiversity score predicted less allergic sensitisation, but to a lesser magnitude than a childhood farm environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 72, no 3, 236-244 p.
National Category
Respiratory Medicine and Allergy Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-311302DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2015-208154ISI: 000394447800013PubMedID: 27672121OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-311302DiVA: diva2:1059580
Available from: 2016-12-22 Created: 2016-12-22 Last updated: 2017-04-20Bibliographically approved

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