Little girls need to wallow in dirt to grow up healthy

Personally never had a problem “getting dirty” as a child.  The behaviour contrasted strongly with what my mother desired – she expected her little girl, to be nealittle girl avoiding dirtt and tidy,  “all ribbons and curls”.

She actively encouraged more girly pursuits, by kitting out a beautiful “Wendy House” in the backyard, but hosting tea parties, was quite low on the agenda. Nothing has changed.  My childhood was spent outdoors – tormenting the garden residents and building cities, with complex road networks, in the mud.

My mother’s failure may have been a health triumph for me.

The hygiene hypothesis

The hygiene hypothesis is not a new idea.    Simply stated, if you don’t get exposed to “enough germs and things”, your immune system becomes hypersensitive,  over reacting  with a massive immune response to a non-existent threat which ultimately leads  to an autoimmune disease.

Big girls are suffering from autoimmune disease

 Little boys are encouraged to get dirty, while little girls are expected to avoid the dirt.

 So what happens when those squeaky clean little girls reach adulthood.  They’re developing autoimmune disorders.   Women have far higher rates of allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders than men.

 Diseases showing a gender bias include

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Lupus 

 It’s hard to blame it on genes – both men and women have the X chromosome.  Researchers from Oregon State University are blaming the way little girls are raised.

 Society socializes young girls to “be clean”

  • Girls tend to be dressed more in clothing that is not supposed to get dirty
  • Girls tend to play indoors
  • Girls playtime is more likely to be supervised by an adult
  • Hygiene products target little girls

 The average little girl, is not being exposed to as many bacteria,  as the average little boy.

Girls need to socialize with germs

Just one gram of ordinary uncontaminated soil contains 10 billion microbial cells.  So little girls don’t need to actually eat dirt,  but baking a mud pie or two, will inevitably cause a couple of bacteria to rub off and so improve their bacteria zoo.

So turn off the TV,  shut off the Xbox and send the kids (both girls and boys) outside, to add a few facebook  “germs” to their list of friends.

Gender and the hygiene hypothesis
Social Science & Medicine, Volume 72, Issue 4, Pages 486-493
Sharyn. Clough

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Further reading


thumbnail peeing in the pool  thumbnail nerd  gut bacteria controlling brain 
 Eating a tub of yogurt or two does change the gut zoo  Does sun aversion trigger allergic reactions ? How do you plead ? Not guilty – my bacteria made me do it… 

These are the 7 Big Spoons™….. master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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