Scientists are beginning to echo what gardeners have been saying for years: it’s not only fun but healthy to play in the dirt, and today’s children (especially girls) need it more than ever before!
Over the past half-century, allergies have dramatically increased in children, while time spent outdoors has decreased. And while there may not be a direct correlation, many experts believe that children who are exposed to soil-borne bacteria from an early age may develop stronger resistance to infection, and be less susceptible to autoimmune disorders.
Girls are still less likely than boys to play in the mud and scrabble in the dirt, perhaps due to lingering stereotypes about ladylike behavior — or practical issues such as not wanting to “ruin” nice clothes. And certain autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus, are present in women at a much higher rate than in men. One conclusion? Growing up “too clean” may be unhealthy.