Increased exposure to sunlight could reduce the risk of developing food allergies and eczema in children, according to research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The researchers found that children living in areas with lower levels of UV exposure are at an increased risk of developing food allergies for egg and peanuts, as well as the skin rash eczema, compared to those with higher vitamin D levels.
The researchers conducted the study using data from a previous epidemiological study of Australian children. They analyzed how rates of food allergy, asthma, and eczema varied throughout the country, based on latitude and UV exposure. The researchers found that there was a latitude association with allergies and eczema, but not asthma.
In the 8-9 year old cohort, the odds of a child having a peanut allergy was 6 times more likely in the Southernmost regions when compared to the Northern areas, while the odds of developing eczema doubled.
Dr Nick Osborne, the lead author of the study, believes these findings provide us with insight into the prevalence of specific food allergies and eczema, and could help us identify the reason for a steadily increasing rate of these conditions.