Playing in the Dirt is Good for Kids!
Insulin-dependent diabetes is on the rise all around the world, but the cause of this disease remains unclear.
There is a theory, however, that kids need a bit of dirt to build up their defences against this and other autoimmune diseases.
Improving living standards with sterile environments, urban lifestyles and industrialised food are weakening people’s immune systems.
Looking for answers we began in Finland – the country with the highest incidence of Type 1 diabetes, where we met Irina Kim who lives in a suburb of Helsinki. When she was 10, she was rushed to a hospital after suddenly feeling very ill. She recalled that incident: “Frankly, I’m lucky to be alive – it was terribly bad, I had to recover in the emergency ward for several days.”
Irina was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and since then she has needed regular insulin injections to maintain proper blood sugar levels. She explained: “I have to always have syringes at hand: to take an injection of rapid-acting insulin before every meal, and a long-acting shot every evening.”
While nobody knows for sure what causes Type 1 diabetes, a European research study tests the “hygiene hypothesis,” suggesting that clinically clean homes and bacteria-free food may actually undermine our health.