"Childhood trauma causes serious health repercussions throughout life and is a public health issue that calls for concerted prevention efforts. That's the takeaway of a report published Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experiencing traumatic things as a child puts you at risk for lifelong health effects, according to a body of research. The CDC's new report confirms this, finding that Americans who had experienced adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, were at higher risk of dying from five of the top 10 leading causes of death.
And those who had been through more bad experiences — such as abuse or neglect, witnessing violence at home or growing up in a family with mental health or substance abuse problems — were at an even higher risk.
One in six people across the United States has experienced four or more kinds of adverse childhood experiences, according to the report.
That's why it's important to prevent adverse childhood experiences and lessen their impact on individuals, said the CDC's principal deputy director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, at a teleconference Tuesday. 'Preventing ACEs can help children and adults thrive and has the potential to substantially lower the risk for conditions like asthma, cancer, depressive disorder and diabetes,' she said.
The new report presents the CDC's first estimate of how many Americans are affected by adverse childhood experiences, as well as the potential benefits of preventing these kinds of traumas.
Using data from a survey of more than 144,000 adults from 25 states, the report found that about 60% of Americans experience at least one adverse experience during childhood. And 15.6% experienced four or more different types. Women, American Indian and Alaskan Natives, and African Americans have a higher risk of experiencing four or more types of childhood traumas."