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Children who suffer abuse, violence or other trauma at home are more likely to become seriously ill as adults, a report has concluded.

The report, the first nationwide study of its kind produced by a public health body in the UK, argues that the reasons are not simply cyclical – that a child who has a challenging home life, where, for example, adults smoke or drink heavily, is more likely to do the same and suffer bad health as a consequence.

It points out there is growing evidence that in addition early life trauma leads to changes in neurological, immunological and hormonal development that have detrimental effects on health across a lifetime.

Children who are constantly exposed to stress can become permanently prepared to respond to further trauma – which can increase strain on the body.

– Steven Morris

Read more: Abused children more likely to be seriously ill as adults, says report