Increased Eczema Down South

Children living in our Southern States are more prone to develop eczema and food allergies than children living in the North of Australia.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has carried out a study of 7600 Australians and have found that children living in the southern parts of the country were more likely to develop eczema and food allergies than those living further north.

These findings have been used in a UK study and analysed by scientists from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at Treliske, Cornwall to determine how rates of food allergy, eczema and asthma varied throughout the country.
Findings indicate that children living in areas with lower levels of sunlight were at a greater risk of developing eczema and food allergies compared to children living in areas with higher levels of sunlight.  In fact southern children are twice as likely to develop the conditions than their northern counterparts.

Sun Exposure Plays A Role

This is not a new belief or finding but these studies rather build on existing evidence that suggests that sun exposure may play a role in tackling rising levels of food allergy and eczema.

Rather than the sunlight itself that plays a role in the development of these conditions it is the vitamin D that the sunlight enables us to make that is of benefit.  The closer to the equator we live the more sunlight we are typically exposed to.

The research in Cornwall was led by  Dr Nick Osborne who believed that the findings provided an important insight into the prevalence of food allergies and eczema, both of which appear to be on the increase.

Further studies now need to be carried out to consider local climate variations and behaviours which can alter exposure to sunlight.

Dr Osbourne went on to say “We’re hoping to study these effects at a much finer scale and examine which factors, such as temperature, infectious disease or vitamin D, are the main drivers of this relationship.”

“Obviously too much sunshine can be bad for you. But take it easy in the sun and it can provide a healthy option for your family. We are starting to get a body of evidence that will lead us to some conclusions about the importance vitamin D. In fact there are some trials starting up where people are getting capsules of vitamin D and hopefully that will provide even better evidence.”  He said.

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