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Updated 17 July 2013

Spanked children become unhealthy adults

Children subjected to harsh physical punishment may end up in relatively poorer physical health as adults, a new study suggests.

Children whose parents use "harsh" physical punishment such as slapping or shoving may end up in relatively poorer physical health as adults, a new study suggests.

The findings, published online July 15 and in the August print issue of Pediatrics, do not prove that physical punishment, itself, affects kids' long-term health.

"Kids need discipline," Afifi said. "But it shouldn't involve physical force."

And since the study did not look at milder physical punishment, the findings cannot be used to condemn everything down to the occasional whack on the behind. "You can't say, based on this alone, 'OK, now we know we shouldn't use any physical punishment,'" Berger said.

 
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