49.7 F
Monday, March 20, 2023
HomeHealthKidsNew National Wildlife Federation report says dirt is healthy

New National Wildlife Federation report says dirt is healthy

marshboysBy Betsy Stein, editor

Dirt is good for kids, according to a report recently released by The National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement.

The dirt on dirt report

The report, “The Dirt on Dirt: How Getting Dirty Outdoors Benefits Kids,” demonstrates why dirty kids are happier and healthier. Apparently dirt and germs can actually be good for kids, the report says.

“The things small children want to do outside, like building mud castles, splashing around in puddles and rolling down hills until their clothes are irreparably grass-stained—all those things that make mothers reach for hand sanitizer and laundry detergent—may, in fact, be a grubby little prescription for health and happiness,” the report says.

Not letting kids get messy and making them use hand sanitizers and antibacterial products, can inhibit their mental and physical health and resilience, according to the report. Children who don’t spend time outside run the risk of serious health issues such as obesity, myopia, and vitamin D deficiency. Outdoor activities like running, jumping, climbing and playing games can all keep kids healthy, according to the report.

And playing in the dirt, even ingesting a little along the way, some researchers say, helps children build stronger immune systems.

“While no one disputes the wisdom of basic, commonsense sanitation measures, such as washing hands and using hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available, experts say some exposure to dirt and germs does not hurt children, and may very well help,” the report says.

The report quotes Dr. Joel Weinstock, director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, who says that children raised in an ultraclean environment are not being exposed to organisms that help them develop appropriate immune regulatory circuits.

“Children should go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt and not have to wash hands when they come in to eat,” he says in the report.

If kids don’t play in the dirt, they are not building their immunological army, according to Dr. Mary Ruebush, immunologist and author of “Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends” who is quoted in the report.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Tips From our Sponsors

Stay Connected


Most Read