Regular visitors to the countryside already know that a trip to the country is good for your health, but now it’s official. A study in the Clinical and Experimental Immunology journal found that people living in urban areas with little access to green spaces were more susceptible to chronic inflammation, leading to illnesses including asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.
The international team of scientists behind the paper found that exposure to environmental microbes, such as those found in rural environments like farms and green spaces, boosted the immune system.
In contrast, modern illnesses picked up in school and at work do not contribute to lowering instances of inflammatory disorders.
The study found that people from poorer urban communities were particularly at risk of contracting inflammatory disorders because they were often unable to afford rural breaks that their more affluent neighbours enjoyed. Charities including CHICKS and Farms for City Children work to address this problem by offering disadvantaged children from urban areas the chance to experience rural life on farm stays.
This latest report follows a study by the Office for National Statistics which last year found that people living in the countryside were generally happier than people living in cities and towns.