There are many elements of the standard American lifestyle that contribute to disease-causing physiological imbalances, such as gut dysbiosis, immune dysregulation and nutritional deficiencies.
These elements are many, but can be summarized by a few key American habits.
Less Time Spent Outdoors
American children no longer spend their days outdoors in contact with the natural world.
According to a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, Americans spend 65% of their time in their houses, 25% in some other indoor environment, 5-7% of their time in transit between these places, and approximately 5% of their time is spent outdoors.
Compare this to Americans living an agricultural lifestyle centuries ago where most of the day was spent outdoors.
This includes exposure to soil microorganisms that are considered among the friendly microbes that populate the gastrointestinal tract.
Studies show that children raised on farms (where pesticides have not been heavily used) have lower rates of allergic diseases and chronic illnesses in general.
Indoor lifestyles deprive American children of sun-derived vitamin D. Vitamin D is a critical component of immune function.
People who are chronically deficient of vitamin D can become immunocompromised and sick.
Rickets is a well-known historical example of what happens to children who are vitamin D deficient.
Indoor lifestyles coupled with obsessive sunscreen habits, deprive American children of immune-building vitamin D.
Recent research reveals that over three-quarters of Americans are vitamin D deficient.
Birthing and Feeding Habits
Changes over the last century with regard to birthing modalities and infant feeding habits have also impacted the health of children.
Vaginal delivery and breastfeeding both introduce good bacteria (lactobacillus and bifidobacteria) into an infant’s body.
Depriving a child of this exposure by formula feeding and caesarean delivery can potentially lead to gut dysbiosis and immune dysregulation, as the children’s guts are often populated with other, less beneficial, microbes.
Stress is another lifestyle factor that can have wide-reaching systemic consequences.
Stress can affect the body in so many ways including altering hormone levels, depletion of gut bacteria, and the suppression of the immune system among others.
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