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The Dirt On Dirt

The Dirt On Dirt

America’s obesity epidemic has health officials clamoring to get kids off the couch and onto the playground, but surprisingly it’s not just weight that’s at stake when we live a “bubble-boy” lifestyle at home.

In an effort not to expose kids to germs, we’re actually not exposing them to enough germs–impairing their immune systems, fostering allergies, and causing asthma and other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and type-one diabetes during adulthood. Kids need to go outside so they can get dirty and come in contact with all the healthy microbes and germs that will ultimately prevent illness.

The benefits of diving into a mud puddle go way past our precious immune systems. Seattle Children’s Dr. Pooja Tandon writes, “Research shows that outdoor time is important for children’s physical activity and also beneficial for their motor skills, learning, vitamin D levels, vision, and mental health.”

In fact, just making contact with dirt increases happiness. Studies show that Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacterium found in soil, triggers a release of serotonin that uplifts moods and decreases anxiety. Playing in dirt is also known to alleviate symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. According to a recent study, the 4.4 million children in America struggling with ADHD would benefit from everyday play in green, open spaces.

So remember: there is such a thing as being too clean. Especially for children, a mud puddle can be the best medicine.

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Read more: Children, Conscious Consumer, Family, Health, , , , ,

By Kara Foran

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9:17AM PDT on May 6, 2013

Emelie, keep disinfecting your hands! My mother, who is a doctor, knows better, and she sets great store by disinfecting dirty things.

9:15AM PDT on May 6, 2013

This is total rubbish. Dirt is harmful to health! I bet Big Pharma wants people to catch various infections to make them buy medicines later, that's why it sponsors such misleading 'research'.

3:18AM PDT on May 6, 2013

I always use hand desinfection after garden work, maybe I shouldn't :-)

3:16AM PDT on May 6, 2013

great to know :-)

1:53AM PDT on May 6, 2013

Thank you :)

12:58AM PDT on May 6, 2013

thanks for sharing

2:56PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

give those kids their FREEDOM! seriously though. let them play. they will love you for it

10:37AM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

Mud pies and worms in bait paper dishes!

1:35PM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

Good practical info..

7:35AM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

Bare foot in mud puddles still make me smile at 53 years old.Does that mean that I am in my second childhood?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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