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Rural Life May Protect Children from Asthma

Eight percent of children in rural India have asthma, versus 30 percent of urban children

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Children growing up in cities in India have almost four times the asthma rate as children in rural India, according to a report published in the April issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Pudupakkam K. Vedanthan, M.D., of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, and colleagues studied children from 50 rural and 50 urban Indian households, and measured exposure to animals and microbes, and rates of asthma, rhinitis and atopic sensitization.

Eight percent of rural Indian children had self-reported asthma versus 30 percent of urban children. In addition, rural children were less likely than urban youngsters to have rhinitis (22 versus 42 percent) and atopic sensitization (35 versus 58 percent). Living in close contact with animals indoors and outdoors was associated with a lower risk of atopic sensitization, as was being breast-fed for six months or more. Living in a mud-floor home was associated with a lower risk of wheezing.

"Children in India who live with close animal contact and mud flooring and who were exclusively breast-fed in infancy are less likely to develop asthma, rhinitis and atopic sensitization," the authors conclude.

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