Smacking kids raises their risk of cancer and heart disease

Smacking or shouting at your children may put them at a greater risk of cancer, heart disease and asthma later in life, a new study has warned.

The study found the link could be caused because smacking and shouting at children causes them stress.

The increased stress levels then cause biological changes within an individual which can lead to serious health problems, the Telegraph reported.

Researchers from Plymouth University found the stress caused by the smacking or shouting in a child's early years may lead to biological changes which predispose to disease.

The research team asked 250 healthy adults in Saudi Arabia about their childhood and compared the answers to 150 adults with heart disease, 150 with cancer and 150 with asthma.

They were asked whether and how often they had been beaten and subjected to verbal abuse as children.

Those who had cancer were 70 per cent more likely to have been beaten as a child compared to the healthy group.

Those with cardiac disease were 30 per cent more likely and those with asthma 60 per cent more likely.

"Early life stress in the form of trauma and abuse is known to creating long term changes that predispose to later disease," Professor Michael Hyland, from the University's School of Psychology, who led the study said.

"But this study shows that in a society where corporal punishment is considered normal, the use of corporal punishment is sufficiently stressful to have the same kinds of long term impact as abuse and trauma.

"Our research adds a new perspective on the increasing evidence that the use of corporal punishment can contribute to childhood stress, and when it becomes a stressor, corporal punishment contributes to poor outcomes both for the

individual concerned and for society," Hyland said.

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