Infants with Pets May Get Fewer Food Allergies

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A comprehensive study conducted in Japan, involving 66,000 children, has unveiled intriguing connections between early exposure to pets and a reduced risk of food allergies. The research, based on data from the Japan Environment and Children's Study, explored the impact of pets, including dogs, cats, turtles, birds, and hamsters, during pregnancy and early infancy. Results indicated that the presence of dogs or cats, particularly during the mothers' pregnancies or in the early years of a child's life, correlated with a lower risk of up to five food allergies. Specifically, children under the age of 3 who had close contact with dogs exhibited a reduced risk of allergies to eggs, milk, and nuts. Similarly, infants in contact with cats showed a lower prevalence of allergies to eggs, wheat, and soybeans. The study also highlighted a potential downside, with hamsters appearing to increase the risk of nut allergies. This research challenges common concerns about pet ownership and allergies, emphasizing a nuanced relationship that varies among different types of animals.


1- Based on the comprehensive study, what is the correlation between the presence of dogs or cats and the risk of food allergies?

2- What specific age group showed a reduced risk of allergies to eggs, milk, and nuts in close contact with dogs?

3- How does the study challenge common concerns about pet ownership and allergies?


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Parts of this lesson are based on: An article by Bill Smith.