Slapping, shoving tied to kids’ future health problems

How discipline is handled can affect future health.
How discipline is handled can affect future health.

Children who are punished through pushing, shoving and slapping are more likely to be obese and have other health problems when they grow up, a new study suggests.

“This is one study that adds to a growing area of research that all has consistent findings that physical punishment is associated with negative mental and now physical (health) outcomes,” said Tracie Afifi, who led the study at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

Last year, she and her colleagues published findings linking hitting and slapping in childhood to a higher risk of depression and anxiety later in life.

For the current report, they re-analyzed data collected in 2004 and 2005 by United States Census interviewers, who surveyed more than 34,000 adults across the country.

Participants were asked whether their parents or other adults at home pushed, slapped, grabbed, shoved or hit them for punishment as a child. They also reported their current health conditions.

About 1,300 people reported being physically punished at least “sometimes” without more extreme physical or emotional abuse or neglect. Compared to people who weren’t punished physically as children, they were more likely to have been diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition.

Specifically, those participants were 25 percent more likely to have arthritis and 28 percent more likely to have cardiovascular disease – though the second finding could have been due to chance, the researchers wrote Monday in Pediatrics.

More people who had been punished physically were obese: about 31 percent, versus 26 percent of those with no history of physical punishment.

Not every child who is slapped or pushed will develop mental or physical health problems, Afifi said.

But pain and inflammation from physical punishment, as well as psychological and behavioral responses to being hit, could lead to long-term problems for some children, she added.

“Changes in sleep, risk-taking behaviors, immune functioning and regulation of stress hormones that result from chronic or intense stress may be important factors,” Michele Knox, a psychiatrist who studies family and youth violence at the University of Toledo College of Medicine, commented in an email.

“This isn’t the safest method of discipline,” Afifi told Reuters Health. “Your child might be fine afterward, but maybe not.”

Knox, who was not involved in the new research, said doctors should talk with parents about alternative, nonphysical methods of discipline.

“If we want what’s best for our children, we need to choose discipline that does not come with these risks,” she said.

Afifi said the point of the study is not to blame parents, or to say all discipline should be avoided.

“The recommendation against physical punishment does not imply the avoidance of discipline,” she said. “We’re not saying, ‘Just let your kid run wild.’”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.