Trauma in early child­hood boosts the risk of teen obe­sity: study

StarMetro Edmonton - - DAILY LIFE - Rita Gior­dano

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.

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