'Top dogs' at school have better health in adulthood

September 28, 2009

Children who are the most popular and powerful at school also enjoy better health in adult life compared to counterparts at the bottom end of the pecking order, said a Swedish study published Tuesday.

The unusually wide and long-term study covers 14,000 children born in 1953, who were questioned in 1966 when they were 12 or 13 years old and whose health was tracked up to 2003.

The children's place in the social hierarchy was determined by asking them who they most preferred to work with at school.

To assess their health in later life, the study delved into a national databank for hospital admissions.

Individuals who had been marginalised at school were nine times likelier to develop and four times likelier to require hospital care for diabetes, which are lifestyle-related disorders.

They were also twice at risk of developing mental ill health and , including self harm and attempted suicide, compared with "top dog" former classmates.

The pattern was the same for both men and women, although the types of ill health they developed were different.

Importantly, the results cannot be explained by the occupation, income or education of the child's family, according to the paper, published in the .

Peer status at could play a large and badly overlooked impact on health in later life, suggested Ylva Almquist of Stockholm University's Centre for Health Equity Studies.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Social factors, not mental illness, to blame for high male suicide rate

Related Stories

Study examines burden of diabetes on US hospitals

January 13, 2009

A new study published in Value in Health estimates the extent of hospital admissions for individuals with diabetes and its economic burden in the U.S. The results show that, during 2005, Americans with diabetes had 3.5 times ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.