February 6/London/Daily Mail-- Playing in the sunshine reduces the risk of children developing eczema and food allergies, researchers claim.

Those living in areas with lower levels of sunlight are at greater risk of developing food allergies and the skin condition, compared to those in areas with higher UV.

Scientists used data from analysis of Australian children and how rates of food allergies, eczema and asthma varied throughout the country.

On average, children in the south of the country were twice as likely to develop eczema as those in the north. There was also a link between latitude and allergies to peanuts and eggs.

Sunlight is important because it provides the fuel to create vitamin D in the skin.

Australia is a particularly good place for this type of study, as it spans nearly 3,000 miles from north to south, with a large variation in climate, day length and sun strength.

Dr. Nick Osborne, who led the researchers at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, a joint initiative between Plymouth and Exeter universities, warned, “This investigation has further underlined the association between food allergies, eczema and where you live.

“We’re now hoping to study these effects at a much finer scale and examine which factors such as temperature, infectious disease or vitamin D are the main drivers of this relationship.” 

 From the February 6, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.