Study: Proximity to equator linked with asthma, allergies

Living close to the equator could explain some health issues, study shows

Author: Tara Evans, Producer, tevans@wkmg.com
Published On: Feb 05 2013 10:43:15 AM EST
Asthma

Ever wonder why you may feel the effects of your allergies more the farther south in the United States you go? How about why your asthma acts up?

A new study suggests it could have something to do with your proximity to the equator. The report, published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, says research indicates people living closer to the equator are exposed to higher levels of UVB rays from the sun. Those people tend to have a higher risk of allergies and asthma.

Researchers examined data from the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study which looked at the respiratory disease rate of 5,728 people. A clinical study of 1,392 people was also done.

That study showed that the people living closest to the equator there were most sensitive to dust mites and mold, and more often had allergies or hay fever. They also were more likely to have asthma.

Researchers said the higher instances could be because as your exposure to UVB rays goes up, so is your exposure to Vitamin D. Vitamin D is thought to modify the immune system, which could possibly explain the higher instances of allergies and asthma.