Children physically abused – including spanking – may be at greater risk of cancer, heart disease or asthma, British researchers suggest. Study leader Michael Hyland of Plymouth University’s School of Psychology said stress caused by spanking or shouting at a child might lead to biological changes that predispose them to disease. The research team asked 250 healthy adults in Saudi Arabia about their childhood and compared the answers to their health as adults. The study found those who had cancer were 70% more likely to have been beaten as a child compared with the healthy group. Those with cardiac disease were 30% more likely and those with asthma 60% more likely, the study said.