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Nearby Nature Does Not Protect Against Early Childhood Eczema

Exposure to coniferous, mixed forests and agriculture areas associated with elevated eczema risk

By Lori Solomon (HealthDay News) | May 05, 2023

WEDNESDAY, May 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Greenness around the home during early childhood does not seem to protect against eczema, according to a study published online April 7 in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.

Minna Lukkarinen, from University of Turku in Finland, and colleagues evaluated the impact of 12 land cover classes and two greenness indices around homes at birth on the development of doctor-diagnosed eczema by the age of 2 years among 5,085 children.

The researchers found that neither greenness indices nor residential or industrial/commercial areas were associated with eczema by age 2 years. There was an association observed for coniferous forests (adjusted odds ratios [aORs], 1.19 [95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.01 to 1.39] for the middle and 1.16 [95 percent CI, 0.98 to 1.28] for the highest versus lowest tertile) and mixed forests (aOR, 1.21 [95 percent CI, 1.02 to 1.42] for the middle versus lowest tertile) with elevated eczema risk. There was also a trend seen toward higher coverage with agricultural areas and elevated eczema risk (aOR, 1.20 [95 percent CI, 0.98 to 1.48] versus none). Transport infrastructure was inversely associated with eczema (aOR, 0.77 [95 percent CI, 0.65 to 0.91] for the highest versus lowest tertile).

"Our results do not support the hypothesis that greenness and nature-related exposures around home would prevent [eczema] and the urban-related exposures increase the risk of allergic diseases in small children," the authors write.

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