February 27, 2013
How many Americans are informed about the ACE study? Not many.
The question in my mind is why. Why are we neglecting what is obviously so important and critical to our society’s well-being?
The ACE study came out of a weight loss study at Kaiser Permanente, originally in the 1980’s, led by Dr. Vincent Felitti. In conducting the weight loss study with a relatively large sample of patients, Dr. Felitti discovered that many of them could not keep on track psychologically in their weight loss goals, and that many of these individuals had adverse childhood experiences.
In posing to those involved in the study questions designed to elicit the number of adverse childhood experiences they suffered, Dr. Felitti and his colleague Robert Anda, found that the number of adverse childhood experiences a person suffered was directly proportional to the number of adult risk factors that person was undergoing, including mental health issues, addictions, physical illness and disease, shortened lifespan, incarceration, financial struggle, job loss, obesity, depression, among others.
The adverse childhood experiences considered as risk factors included parental domestic violence, parental incarceration, parental drug or alcohol abuse, divorce, child abuse, etc.
In finding that adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) led to adult risk factors, the researchers also found that the number of ACE’s was proportional to the number of adult risk factors. Said another way, the more childhood trauma an individual has undergone, the more likely he is to be susceptible to problems in adulthood, including even physical health risks.
Originally conducted in the 1980’s, this study still does not have widespread recognition in the general population. However, those working the field of child welfare are beginning to discuss it, spread the word, and work at ways to implement its revolutionary conclusions into treatment and prevention in communities.
It seems to me we need to speed up the dissemination of this information.
See the ACE Study’s website to learn more.