Bad childhood experiences ‘mean chronic illness more likely’

Children who are exposed to abuse, domestic violence or other stresses are far more likely to develop long term health problems, says new research.

The Public Health Wales study looks at adverse experiences in childhood (ACEs) which include parents separating.

Children with four or more ACEs, around 14%, are three times more likely to get lung or heart disease later in life.

One senior health figure said instead of “mending broken adults” a focus was needed on “building stronger children”.

The findings are being published to coincide with a major international public health conference, hosted by PHW in Cardiff.

It is the last of three PHW studies looking at the first 1,000 days of life. More than 2,000 adults in Wales were interviewed.

The importance of giving children the best start in life has long been appreciated.

But this research looks at the long term impact of bad experiences in those crucial early years and how it could mean more chronic illness and more pressure on frontline services further down the line.

Those having had four or more ACEs are also:

  • Twice as likely to be frequent visitors to the GP over a yearly period
  • Three times as likely to have gone to A&E or to have spent a night in hospital.
  • Four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than a child with no experiences.
  • A quarter by the age of 49 were diagnosed with one or more chronic disease. This compares with only 6.9% in those with no ACEs… Read More>>

Source: BBC News

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