According to Science Daily, children who exhibit signs of behavioral problems may have a higher risk of developing chronic and inflammatory diseases upon reaching adulthood.

Researchers from Harvard and Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data on over 4,000 children who were part of a study conducted by the University of Bristol. The researchers followed the participants until they grew up, and they found that those who showed behavioral problems at age eight were more prone to health conditions including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

This is due to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and Interleukin 6 (IL-6), which are produced when the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis malfunctions. The HPA is known to control stress reactions and the immune system. When CRP and IL levels are high, the body reacts with inflammation--an initial response to cell and tissue damage.

It’s important for parents to be aware of signs of behavioral problems in their children. These may include blatant disregard of rules, disruptions of communal activities, and physical or verbal violence among peers. Researchers recommend addressing the issue as soon as possible and getting professional help.

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(Photo by Niklas Hellerstedt via Flickr Creative Commons)

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