Preventing traumatic events in childhood could vastly improve the health of adults in the U.S., the CDC reported in November 2019, based on an analysis of data from 144,000 adults in 25 states who were surveyed between 2015 and 2017.
As seen in earlier research, those who reported the highest numbers of adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, were more likely to currently have chronic health conditions including heart disease and cancer, as well as to have depression and to drink heavily or smoke. ACEs include such events as experiencing physical or sexual abuse, witnessing violence or substance abuse in the home, or having a parent in jail.
One in six Americans reported having experienced four or more ACEs. Based on the findings, the authors determined that preventing ACEs could have reduced the number of Americans who have heart disease by up to 1.9 million, the number who were overweight or obese by up to 2.5 million, and the number who had depression by up to 21 million.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.