Get a Pet, Move to the Country: You’ll Be Healthier

Get a Pet, Move to the Country: You’ll Be Healthier

New medical research compared people living in urban environments to those making their homes and lives in rural settings. The findings indicate rural dwellers are healthier both physically as well as mentally. Their bodies are more resistant to disease, and they’re more emotionally stable.

A joint study between universities in the United States as well as Germany looked at children raised in both kinds of settings. Children living in the city had access to cultural activities, such as museums and exhibitions, and found themselves navigating city streets broken up only by smaller green areas such as parks. Rural children, on the other hand, were surrounded by greenery, and often created and participated in activities that were less structured and more free form.

Asthma was one specific item the researchers looked at. Rural children are more likely to have pets than their city counterparts, and were also around animals in general more often. Yet they had a lower incidence of developing asthma, both as children or later as they aged. The medical researchers conclude that exposure to fur, dust, and other allergens helped bolster their immune systems.

The research indicates that the rise of cities, and people who grow up and live exclusively in the concrete playgrounds of modern life, might be at greater risk for otherwise preventable ailments.

Key Points:

  • 1New research suggests that country living improves the immune system and that exposure to bacteria and allergens has protective benefits for mental health.
  • 2In this study, 20 urban and 20 rural German men were used, and it was discovered that sterile environments actually cause more health problems than they prevent.
  • 3With 54% of the world’s population living in urban areas, a greater number of individuals will face health issues because they lack bacterial and microorganism exposure.


Levels of cortisol — the fight or flight hormone — spiked higher in the country men. They also self-reported higher levels of anxiety following the tests than their urban counterparts.
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