In 1995-1997, Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collaborated on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) Study. There were 17,421 people who participated in the study. The goal was to determine if they had experienced traumatizing events in their childhood, which had led to health concerns later in life.
The major findings showed that the more ACE’s that were experienced would be a higher chance for health risks over a lifetime. The reported data showed that 26.0% of the 17,337 participants had at least one ACE, while 22.0% reported to have at least three or more.
The CDC explains that Adverse Childhood Experiences disrupt neurodevelopment and they affect social, emotional, and cognitive impairment. A person is more likely to adopt health-risk behaviors and develop a disease, disability or social problems and can even succumb to early death when they have experienced adverse childhood experiences.
The original study was conducted at an obesity clinic in San Diego. The chief physician, Dr. Vincent Felitti, was perplexed why those who were losing weight would drop out of the program. He learned after countless interviews that most of the women had been sexually assaulted as children. Felitti explained the correlation to be that the women were using their weight as protection against being assaulted again. The women felt if they were not attractive (in what they believed to be non-attractive), then men would not assault or hurt them again.
Dr. Vincent Felitti teamed up with researchers from the CDC and created the ACE study. The researchers were astounded to learn how childhood trauma of all kinds resulted in serious health problems later in life. People respond to trauma differently and also have different genetic predispositions, but they found that when our trauma gets triggered, it can lead to many diseases, including, chronic lung diseases, addiction issues, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and cancer.
We owe it to ourselves to learn what could be the root of our health concerns, so we can resolve them before they become more serious or lead to premature death, as this study has found. With our conscious effort to remove blockages and imbalances, our bodies have the natural ability to heal. We have the right to live the healthiest and happiest life possible. We can start by understanding where our health concerns and other life adversities began.
It may be hard work to address past trauma, but it is indeed the most rewarding thing for us to do for ourself and our relationships. It can be helpful to join an online community forum to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. When we come together in community, we heal faster.
Download a free version of the ACE questionnaire from the below link and on the Blog page
The original study is referenced below.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention. (2016). The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about.html
Felitti, J. Vincent, Anda, F. Robert, Nordenberg, Dale, Williamson, F David, Spitz, M. Alison, Edwards Valerie, Koss, P. Mary, & Marks S. James. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245 – 258. doi:10.1016/S0749-3797(98)00017-8
Stevens E. Jane, (2012). The adverse childhood experiences study — the largest, most important public health study you never heard of — began in an obesity clinic. Aces too high. Retrieved from https://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/