by Cody Adams
(Lone Oak, TX)

There is no denial that our future lies in the children of today and tomorrow. This is why so many in the medical and science fields, dedicate their lives to finding solutions to problems related to children and identifying correlations to better predict issues at hand and prevent them. It often takes years, even decades, for ground breaking studies and solutions to reach the masses with the vital information and then implement it. But this gap in time from the initial findings to implementation, does not detract from the information or make it any less valuable, in fact it makes it even that much more important when the results are of epidemic proportions.

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In 1997, one of the most important studies in relation to child abuse was released, changing the way we view child abuse forever. Helping us  to understand the actual scale of abuse and how it has reached epidemic levels. This study is known as the ACE or Adverse Childhood Experience Study and is considered one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.

The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. It is critical to understand how some of the worst health and social problems in our nation can arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences. Realizing these connections is likely to improve efforts towards prevention and recovery. Almost two-thirds of the study participants reported at least one ACE point, and more than one of five reported three or more ACE. The    short and long-term outcomes of these childhood exposures include a multitude of health and social problems. Here are some of the effects:

• Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Depression
• Fetal death
• Health-related quality of life
• Illicit drug use
• Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
• Liver disease
• Risk for intimate partner violence
• Multiple sexual partners
• Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
• Smoking
• Suicide attempts
• Unintended pregnancies
• Early initiation of smoking
• Early initiation of sexual activity
• Adolescent pregnancy

Though this information is reaching almost 20 years since it’s release, the findings are more important than ever. We need to get this study out to the public so we can better understand our own health and lives. Then use this knowledge to create a more safe, stable and nurturing environment for our children of today and tomorrow. Adults who understand the consequences of yelling, physical violence, neglect, etc., are better equipped to raise healthy children and influence other adults to the same techniques.

It is important to remember that when studies like these come out, it is not a damning of our own childhood or our parenting skills. Rather, it is information that can help us better understand the world from our own perspective and the perspective of a child, which can then help us be better adults and child caretakers. Knowledge is power, not our enemy, and our children need this power more than we may even know.

Share this information with your friends and family and help create the type of world we would be proud to leave behind. All it takes is a little knowledge and a little action to makes ripples that will be felt across the world.

Click here to take the ACE Questionnaire.