Trauma in early childhood boosts the risk of teen obesity: study
Teenagers who have suffered adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) —such as physical or emotional abuse, or having a parent who is incarcerated or addicted to drugs or alcohol —are at greater risk of being overweight or obese, according to a new study.
In fact, the study found that the more kinds of adverse experiences children endured, the more likely they would have excessive weight issues by middle school or high school.
“This study adds to our understanding of childhood overweight and obesity by showing that the relationship between ACEs and weight problems is evident even in adolescence,” said study team leader Laurel Davis, a research associate at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s department of pediatrics.
With more than 105,000 Minnesota eighth, ninth, and 11th graders reporting, Davis said, “this is the largest study of ACEs and obesity during childhood to date.”
The research article appears in the Journal of Pediatrics’ January issue. Teens who have had adverse childhood experiences are at greater risk of being obese.
The student participants were asked questions about six kinds of adverse experiences: if they had been subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse, or psychological abuse, and if there was in their family substance misuse or addiction, domestic violence, or parental incarceration.
The youngsters with one type of adverse experience were 1.2 times more likely to be overweight than someone with no adverse experiences, 1.4 times more apt to be obese, and 1.5 times more likely to have severe obesity.