Allergic disease and sensitization in Steiner school children


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Allergic disease and sensitization in Steiner school children is a well-researched topic, it is to be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research


Background: The anthroposophic lifestyle has several features
of interest in relation to allergy: for example, a restrictive use
of antibiotics and certain vaccinations. In a previous Swedish
study, Steiner school children (who often have an anthro-
posophic lifestyle) showed a reduced risk of atopy, but
specific protective factors could not be identified.
Objective: To investigate factors that may contribute to the
lower risk of allergy among Steiner school children.
Methods: Cross-sectional multicenter study including 6630
children age 5 to 13 years (4606 from Steiner schools and
2024 from reference schools) in 5 European countries.
Results: The prevalence of several studied outcomes was lower
in Steiner school children than in the reference group. Overall,
there were statistically significant reduced risks for
rhinoconjunctivitis, atopic eczema, and atopic sensitization
(allergen-specific IgE $0.35 kU/L), with some heterogeneity
between the countries. Focusing on doctor-diagnosed disease,
use of antibiotics during first year of life was associated with
increased risks of rhinoconjunctivitis (odds ratio [OR], 1.97;
95% CI, 1.26-3.08), asthma (OR, 2.79; 95% CI, 2.03-3.83), and
atopic eczema (OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.22-2.17). Early use of
antipyretics was related to an increased risk of asthma (OR,
1.54; 95% CI, 1.11-2.13) and atopic eczema (OR, 1.32; 95% CI,
1.02-1.71). Children having received measles, mumps, and rubella
vaccination showed an increased risk of rhinoconjunctivitis,
whereas measles infection was associated with a lower risk
of IgE-mediated eczema.
Conclusion: Certain features of the anthroposophic lifestyle,
such as restrictive use of antibiotics and antipyretics, are
associated with a reduced risk of allergic disease in children.


The prevalence of IgE-mediated allergic diseases has
increased markedly during the past decades, especially
in children,1,2 although recent reports indicate that the
occurrence has stabilized.3 The causes behind these trends
are largely unknown. Factors increasing the risk have re-
ceived the greatest attention, but in recent years, attention
has also focused on possible protective factors, such as liv-
ing on a farm4 and specific probiotic strains.5 To identify
protective factors, it is of interest to study groups in the
population with a low prevalence of allergy, such as chil-
dren from anthroposophic families.6 The anthroposophic
lifestyle includes factors like a restrictive use of antibi-
otics, antipyretics, and vaccinations, and often a biody-
namic diet.6 An earlier study was conducted in a limited
community of anthroposophic families, showing a lower
prevalence of childhood allergy,6 but specific protective
factors could not be identified.
The aim of this study was to identify possible protective
factors for allergy associated with the anthroposophic
lifestyle. The study subjects include school children from
Steiner schools, who often come from anthroposophic


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Project Topic and Material


Allergy and Clinical Immunology

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