Rich Kids May Be More Likely to Have Peanut Allergies

This Just In 11

peanut butter sandwichIt's been said that money is the root of all evil, and while that may be a stretch, researchers say it could be the root of peanut allergies for some children. In a recent study they found that children from high income families were more likely to have peanut allergies than those from lower income families.

According a press release in allergist, researchers looked at 8,200 patients. They found that in children between ages 1 through 9 there was greater rate of peanut sensitivities in those who came from higher income households. Economic status did not seem to be related to those who developed the allergy later in life, but boys and racial minorities in general had higher rates of peanut allergies.

So what's money got to do with it?

Apparently scientists believe that the more money you have, the cleaner your surroundings, because they say this study supports the "hygiene hypothesis". This, in short, means that if your environment is too clean, your body is then ill-equipped to fight allergies and the like. Or simply -- why I justify picking up my kid's sandwich from the floor, dusting it off, and handing it back to him to finish. And hey, neither of my kids have allergies, so maybe there's something there.

I don't doubt there may be, but I find it a little offensive that they believe people with higher incomes have cleaner houses. Sure, if you have more money, maybe you can afford a housekeeper, and there are some cases of extreme poverty that leave families in unsanitary places, but for the most part I'm not convinced. There are plenty of people who are filthy rich -- quite literally.

Professor Katie Allen of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute is with me. She spoke to MSN about the study and said:

They're making a link that more affluent families are more hygienic, and I just don't agree with that –– it's a big stretch to say that the wealthier you are, the cleaner you are. They have shown a difference in ethnicity and unfortunately ethnic minorities are more likely to be less wealthy. So in fact what they may be describing is a genetic tendency in different racial groups.

She went on to say that parents shouldn't use this as an excuse to stop cleaning their houses either as it's not at a personal hygiene level, but rather about a "general population hygiene level".

So the bottom line I guess is to just take this new study for what it is -- a new study. One that needs more study and may or may not mean anything directly.

Does this study surprise you?


Image via chexed/Flickr


in the news, kid health, kids nutrition


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tuffy... tuffymama

Well now. We can't even see well-off from where we are, but I'm a germophobe and my house is CLEAN, and neither of my kids have allergies. DH and I come from good stock, though.

Venae Venae


Julie... Julienikki06

stupidest things I've ever read. I know several low income families who are extremely clean. and several well off families who live like pigs. 

amazz... amazzonia

The richer you are more time you probably spend on the Internet, you probably watch more tv with all the ads about how you have to clean your house with all kind of bug killer, otherwise your house will be filled with VIRUS and BACTERIA so therefore you end up buying all those things to keep your house as cleen as possible without any kind of germ etc... People with lower income, spend less time brainwashed by this things and that's why their houses are microscopic less clean....I think that what's this study want to say, nothing offensive, and it totally makes sense.... I consider myself one of those person on the less income side, I don't have a house cleaner, I don't have much time to constantly clean my house, and we are all healthy with no allergies, but I know many families on the higher income side, and most of their kids are full of allergies, actually I was just thinking why in Italy I never found anyone with allergies, and overe here in the us I feel like every kid has some kind of totally makes sense to me, maybe is not the cleanness but the chemical used to make cleaning products 

nonmember avatar Bkmom

Tuffymama, I find your comment really offensive. My son has allergies does that mean his father and I are not "good stock?" Neither of us have allergies by the way. Maybe you should just be grateful that you are lucky enough to have healthy kids. Stop insulting people who aren't as fortunate.

kelti... kelticmom

There is a big difference between a "clean" house and a "sterilized within an inch of it's life" house. I would assume that higher income houses are cleaned with more antibacterial, antimicrobial, expensive cleaners that kill the good with the bad, while lower income homes are cleaned the "good old fashioned" way. Dust, vacuum, Windex and Scrubbing Bubbles. I think that is what the article is getting at, not that lower income people live in squalor.

Shandi80 Shandi80

Ok. I gotta ask....what does DH stand for? And DD? I have seen these abbreviations on Cafe Mom for awhile and figure it means husband, daughter, but WHAT DOES THE D STAND FOR?!

Ok. Now that I got that out of my system, here's my take on this: I agree with Keltic.

DebaLa DebaLa

If I were to hypothesize about this study (which a guess is better than some of these lame studies), I'm thinking there's a lot of eating out by the more affluent as well. Restaurants notoriously use the cheapest, least healthy ingredients for flavor and bottom-line appeal. So poorer nutrition from lack of food quality; and not just a pathologically cleanliness, and weak immune system issue.

nonmember avatar Stephanie.r.e

@Shani I was told it stands for "darling". I hate when people put that.. It looks and sounds ridiculous. I just read over it.

Em Chappell-Root

Only allergies my kids have are skin allergies, which are inherited through my line, and some food sensitivities, all things my mother has, that are less strong in me and even more minor in my kids. I have Asthma and chemicals can set me off, we're certainly not wealthy, so I don't use a lot of chemicals. My go-to cleaner is boiling hot water, with lemon juice or vinegar. That's what I clean and sanitize my kitchen counters, dining room table, and floor with, what goes on the upholstered furniture after I use dish detergent (Dawn) to scrub off whatever the kids spill, and what goes into the "Second Cleaning" round when we rent a carpet cleaner every six months. I use dollar tree chemicals to clean my bathroom, and have to have fans in every window of the house to be able to breath, with a mask, when I do.

My sisters son, who to be fair is very fragile and has a ton of health problems, has multiple serious/life threatening allergies, and they keep their house cleaner than a medical laboratory, and use a LOT of different cleaners, antibacterial/anti microbial stuff.  So which is the cause, which is the effect? 

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