Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Childhood behaviour and adult health

Childhood behaviour problems are associated with premature death. To look into this link a little further a team of researchers, led by Sophie von Stumm from the University of Chichester, used information from a study of 12,500 people in Aberdeen. The children's behaviour and psychological problems were assessed by teachers when they were between six and 12 and they were followed up and asked about their health between 2001 and 2003 when they were between 46 and 51. People who had been badly behaved when they were children were 15% more likely to be suffering from a long-term disease in middle age. Bad behaviour in childhood was also associated with a 16% greater risk of obesity and a 20% greater risk of smoking. Childhood hyperactivity was associated with starting to smoke earlier and, in women, smoking more as well as binge drinking for both men and women and having more hangovers in men. Being depressed or anxious as a child was related to a decreased risk of smoking and a later age of starting for those who did smoke.

von Stumm, Sophie ... [et al] - Childhood behavior problems and health at midlife: 35-year follow-up of a Scottish birth cohort Journal of child psychology and psychiatry doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02373.x

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