London, Sept 29 (ANI): Children who are the most popular and powerful at school tend to go on to enjoy better health as adults, a new study suggests.
The study, which was based on a 30-year follow-up of more than 14,000 children born in Sweden in 1953, has been published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The study found that the least popular children had a nine times higher risk of ischaemic heart disease. They were also more at risk of diabetes, drug, alcohol and mental health problems, reports The BBC.
According to lead researcher Ylva Almquist, from the Centre for Health Equity Studies at the University of Stockholm, children with a low status might lack social support, and be starved of information. And this could lead to a more negative self-image, which could lead to lower expectations, stunted ambition - and poor choices in life.
"For example, children in lower peer status positions may adopt a more health-damaging lifestyle, including behaviours such as heavy smoking and drinking.
"These behaviours are known to be major risk factors for heart diseases," the expert said.
Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said: "Children who feel undervalued or are bullied at school often grow up lacking self-confidence.
"They then seek comfort in over-eating, smoking or drinking to excess, and all too often find themselves on the slippery slope to chronic ill-health.
"It is crucial to do whatever we can to help children and young people feel valued." (ANI)