January 28, 2011
Women are three times more likely to have an auto-immune disorder than men. We have higher rates of asthma, multiple sclerosis and lupus. Women are also more likely to die from asthma than men. Maybe the extra X chromosome wreaks havoc on our immune systems.
Or maybe girls need to stop being made from ‘everything nice’ and get down and dirty in the mud.
A recent report links the high rates of auto-immune disease among women to the fact that overall most girls spend less time outside than boys. The report claims that girls’ playtime is more often supervised and inside than boys’ and girls clothing often is ‘not supposed to get dirty.’ Although the link between a deficient immune system and hyper-cleanliness has been well-documented, this report extrapolates the connection between gender differences in the mode of play and gender differences in auto-immune disorders. The researcher hopes that more studies will be done because of the trends she delineated from previous research.
I hope she is right, because this is something I probably don’t need worry about. Maybe rubbing poison ivy juice in my eye after playing in the dirt all afternoon was actually a good idea in the long run. Maybe not.