Are rural environments safer for IBD?
The research on living environment goes further than country and culture. Research performed by Dr. Eric I. Benchimol at the University of Ottawa in Canada indicated that living in rural areas offered significant protection against inflammatory bowel disease compared to living in urban environments. Of more the 45,000 people who participated in Benchimol’s study, significantly more people reported being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease in cities. The exposure was also linked to age, with research indicating that children below the age of 18 who had been exposed to rural environments continuously for at least one year were at significantly lower risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease than their urban counterparts. Benchimol also added that “the mechanism by which rurality protects against IBD is uncertain,” going on to suggest that there are more avenues for inflammatory bowel disease than genetics and environment.