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Studies Find Children of Smokers at Risk for Chronic Conditions

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Children of parents who smoke are more likely to have a higher body-mass index and greater prevalence of behavioral problems, according to a pair of new studies, Med Page Today reported June 28.

A study from the University of Bristol in England found conduct and externalizing behavior problems at a higher rate among children of mothers who smoked prenatally, compared to those with no exposure. Researchers examined 7,000 children in two cohorts in England and Brazil in the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, in a second study, researchers from the University of Hong Kong reported a 0.10 higher average body mass index at age 7 for children with parents who smoked pre- or postnatally. This increased to 0.16 by age 11.

“Parental tobacco dependence, itself a chronic condition, begets other chronic conditions of childhood,” researchers concluded.

The Hong Kong and British studies initially appeared in the July 2010 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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