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CDC Report: Childhood Trauma Major Cause of Health Issues in Adults

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019   

BOISE, Idaho -- Childhood trauma has long-lasting effects on a person's well-being. According to recent data, it impacts thousands of Idahoans with serious health conditions and even death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least five of the top 10 causes of death are associated with ACEs -- negative experiences such as abuse, neglect or serious family dysfunction that can potentially be traumatic. The CDC also found ACEs contribute to 44% of depression cases, as well as 33% of smoking and even 24% of asthma cases.

Roger Sherman, executive director of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund, said he's "done the math" on how these issues could be reduced in Idaho if ACEs were prevented.

"We should be able to prevent up to 32,000 cases of depression or help people experiencing depression. We could reduce the number of people who smoke by about 60,000 people," Sherman said. "Looking at things like asthma, close to 28,000 people could be impacted by that."

Sherman said if it isn't dealt with, childhood trauma can carry throughout every aspect of a person's life. The CDC says ACEs contribute to unemployment in 15% of cases.

Sherman said there needs to be urgency around this issue, adding the best way to prevent adverse experiences is to start early with families. He said it should be a priority to make parenting programs appealing so that everybody wants to take them.

"Too often, we see parenting classes as a punishment rather than something that would be good for all of us to do," he said. "Very few of us learn what we need to know about parenting before we get on the job."

Sherman said it's also important not to shame parents for what they don't know. He said positive experiences in children's lives are the best way to prevent the negative effects of ACEs.

Disclosure: Idaho Children's Trust Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, Family/Father Issues, Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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