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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 March, 2004, 01:10 GMT
Angry teenagers 'risking health'
Some people have difficulty controlling their anger
"Angry" teenagers could be storing up health problems for the future, according to scientists.

A study in the US has found teenagers who have problems controlling anger are more likely to gain weight.

Speaking at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in San Francisco, they said those who suppress angry feelings are also at risk.

People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Dealing with anger

Doctors from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston studied 160 children between the ages of 14 and 17 for three years.

They used psychological tests to measure how well they dealt with anger.

Problems expressing anger can translate into eating disorders and increased weight
Professor William Mueller
They found that teenagers who could control their anger and responded appropriately when angry were more likely to have lower body mass indexes.

Those who had problems with anger, whether it was suppressing their feelings or losing their temper, were more likely to be overweight.

"Unhealthy ways of expressing anger are associated with overweight," said Professor William Mueller, lead author of the study.

"Problems expressing anger can translate into eating disorders and increased weight, which leads to a high risk of cardiovascular disease at a young age."

He said the findings could have implications for doctors.

"We're suggesting that it is important to look at the emotional health of kids," he said.

"It's beyond just diet and exercise. We need to look at the broader sociological picture.

"If they feel good about resolving interpersonal stress and learn to decrease conflict, these skills will spill over into their general lifestyle."

Mike Fisher from the British Association of Anger Management said many teenagers have anger management issues.

"Around 50% of the calls we receive are from parents who are concerned about their children," he told BBC News Online.

"Many of the teenagers we see are lean rather than overweight. However, the situation is different for adults.

"Many do use overeating to anaesthetise their feelings."

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