Print

The Daily Telegraph | 21 May, 2014 00:00

Bully bullying
Previous research has suggested bullying can affect children's psychological and social development. File photo
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Standing up to bullies is good for your health and those who are made miserable by taunting are more likely to suffer heart problems in later life, a study found.

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina found that bullied children experienced higher than normal levels of low-grade systemic inflammation, a condition which persists into adulthood.

Previous research has suggested bullying can affect children's psychological and social development.

The new study, involving 1420 children between the ages of nine and 20, found bullied children had a biomarker in their blood, which, in high levels, raises the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome - a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity which increases the chance of heart disease and stroke.

The biomarker, C-Reactive Protein, increased with each incident of bullying, and bullies had less CRP than children who were never bullied. Researchers said there appeared to be a protective effect if victims took on their tormentors but remained "uninvolved in bullying".