Why are Amish kids less likely to get asthma?


Why are Amish kids less likely to get asthma? cbsn.ws/2aLHyHz


I’ll guess: something to do with unpasteurized milk?


Probably because they’re exposed to more allergens early in life. Most Amish are rural people and live amidst the pollens, dusts, molds and animal ejecta from birth onward.

My understanding is that rural kids generally are less likely to get asthma than urban kids.


‘Ejecta’ - awesome word.


I should have added this, though I don’t think it as likely a reason.

Rural kids are subjected to various chemical products. However, to the extent they are, parents tend to protect them from those things and the products are used only once or twice in a given season, and at some distance from dwellings.

In many suburban areas, people are exposed constantly to all kinds of chemical products. Not the least of them is “lawn care”. Along with the fertilizers, most lawn care companies spray broadleaf herbicides on lawns routinely. Kills all kinds of weeds. Then they or the residents mow, throwing chemically-treated stuff into the air many times during the growing season. Some of that stuff is so tiny you can’t even see it, and it probably gets everywhere in the environment.


I buy into this theory.


Yes, what you describe is basically how the Hutterite go about farming. Because the Hutterite and the Amish are genetically similar, it is thought that the lower exposure to bacteria on animal related dust is responsible for the higher asthma among the Hutterite.

Here is snippet from the New York Times article:

[quote=New York Times]There was one difference, though: farming methods. The Amish live on single-family dairy farms. They do not use electricity, and use horses to pull their plows and for transportation. Their barns are close to their homes, and their children play in them. The Hutterites have no objection to electricity and live on large, industrialized communal farms. Their cows are housed in huge barns, more like hangars, away from their homes. Children do not generally play in Hutterite barns.


Photo of milking at a Hutterite farm:


There was a study in Germany a few years ago about susceptibility to severe E Coli infection. It found that kids raised on farms acquired a high degree of immunity into adulthood, whereas city kids didn’t have it.

The reason, they figured, was that the farm kids had a lot of early exposure to cow manure, would get a little sick from the E Coli in it, but recover and gain immunity.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I used to let my kids (now I let my grandkids) play in the corrals so they would get early exposure to manure. My now adult children do the same thing and also purposely have their kids play in the deep woods, open fields, along creeks, etc, etc so they get exposed to all kinds of things. They have dogs and cats too.

Hope it works.


Asthma can also be caused by bacterial infection, and there are more pathogenic bacteria where there are more human bodies, i.e. in urban settings.

While postmodernites see many aspects of rural life as “icky,” most illness-causing agents are species specific.



Personally, I can’t agree. I was born and raised inside the mountains in the center of Puerto Rico for 18 years, I could scream like Tarzan confident that no one could hear me, a real country bumpkin . I was constantly exposed to humidity and allergerns. I was extremely allergic as in nasal allergies. Mold and mildew, dust, dust mutes, pigeon feathers, dog dandruff, hops, a certain plant called Isabel or something, malt, peanuts, seafood, corn, tomatoes, strawberry. …Benadryl was my bread and water of every day. At 18 I moved to the city which are more like suburbs and still had the same allergies. Got married and moved to Singapore and I was allergy free for the first time in my life (except for foods, obviously ). Moved again but to the US east coast, and I’m still allergy free. Thanks be to God.


Obviously your results may vary. It’s unique for every body.. And physical climate does matter.

I’d say though, that the study drew attention because many Amish live physically and climatically near the most urbanized areas in NA, so such a divergence is noticeable.



Is it at all related to eating processed, chemical-laden foods or breathing in air pollution?


I doubt I would be wrong in imagining that allergens in Puerto Rico are very different from the ones in the southern Missouri Ozarks where I live. There might be differences in how people react to various things, and they could even be inherited. Most people in the temperate part of the U.S., particularly in the rural areas are of European extraction and that could have an effect, just as 80% of Europeans retain lactose tolerance into adulthood while most other peoples do not.


There are also stress / anxiety triggers and relationships in asthma. Perhaps Amish kids are raised in a way that leaves them more, well, “centered,” self-assured, and independent.


Stress-free existence.


Could be. But a lot of them are animal vector diseases. I do know there are a number of them that are cattle vector diseases that have a greater effect on cattle than they do on humans, but humans can catch them.

And, of course, the ancestors of people of European descent lived in very close proximity to cattle until fairly recently, and did for thousands of years. So perhaps potential acquisition of resistance to some of them is inherited.


The article is in our local newspaper, I’ll have to read it. I also have asthma. We have a lot of Amish people living here. We’re basically the heartland of American Amish culture.

I’m curious about the genetic component, however. I have asthma. My bother and sister don’t. My son and one of my daughters has asthma. My other daughter doesn’t.


Knowing nothing else, and not being a medical person besides, I couldn’t say. However, I do think that’s a high occurrence rate despite the exceptions. The occurrence in the population is, I believe, about 7.5%.

I don’t think we really know the role heredity plays versus the environment, and even less about the possible interaction of the two. But it does seem from what we read casually, that early exposure to particular allergens matters.


My first guess would be a cleaner environment, including air and water, due to fewer technological by-products.


My guess, the Amish are less likely to be able to afford a doctor’s visit. :stuck_out_tongue:

I enjoy walking barefoot outside in the grass myself. Don’t know if that helps asthma, I don’t have the condition, but surprisingly I have read a couple testimonials that it has helped others with asthma symptoms.

Walking barefoot inside and out helped me with some knee and foot pains I was experiencing. i don’t believe shoes are good for my joints.

There is a health idea that the slight electrical current on the earths surface has beneficial health effects when walking barefoot. I believe there is something to it.

Thought this a good video on barefoot walking for health benefits, which is also called grounding.

Boost Heart Health Through Grounding


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