London: British scientists have uncovered several factors, which include physical inactivity and sadness that could explain why children with asthma or any chronic medical condition are more likely to be bullied.
Researchers from the Derbyshire Children's Hospital in Britain, used data from the large six-country "Room to Breathe" survey of childhood asthma, to look at the factors tied to an increased risk of bullying.
Parents and children aged seven years and above were interviewed for the study. Data was collected from 943 questionnaires which asked questions about conditions at home, lifestyle of parents and children and their overall experience of their condition.
The results revealed factors such as a reduced participation in sport and feelings of sadness were linked with bullying.
Will Carroll, from the Derbyshire, said: "Our findings emphasise the need for doctors and nurses to speak to their patients about the effects their condition has on all aspects of their life. We know that bullying is associated with asthma and these findings can help us understand why this is the case."
"A number of the factors identified are things that can be changed, such as participation in sport, asthma control and parental worry over their child's health. As doctors, we must work with families to ensure these risk factors are removed and work with schools and teachers to ensure children with asthma are able to participate in sports at a level that is safe for them," added Carroll.
David Supple, the parent of an asthma sufferer, said: "When you have a child with exercise-induced asthma it can be really hard to get them to participate. You can be scared to push them - but the health and social benefits far outweigh the fear, and can help build a lifetime of confidence against bullying."
These findings were presented on Sunday at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Vienna, Austria.