"When the question changes from "What is wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?" the dialogue suddenly shifts to conversation that will inspire compassion and healing." Jade Beaty
The ACE study began in 1997 with a partnership between the Center for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, California. It would reveal that adverse experiences in childhood were very common, even in the white middle-class, which was the first demographic studied, and that these experiences are linked to every major chronic illness and social problem that the United States grapples with – and spends billions of dollars on.
Dr. Vincent Felitti ran an obesity clinic. He saw a pattern of people dropping out after having some success at weight loss. He started to really talk to these patiennts and then brought in collegues to interview them. Of the 286 people whom Felitti and his colleagues interviewed, most had been sexually abused as children. As startling as this was, it turned out to be less significant than another piece of the puzzle that dropped into place during an interview with a woman who had been raped when she was 23 years old. In the year after the attack, she told Felitti that she’d gained 105 pounds...
There is much more to the story. You can read for yourself, here.
Felitti eventually partnered with the Center for Disease Control and for 20 years now has conducted the largest single study ever attempted. It is on-going. Everyone needs to know their ACEs score and we need to be testing our children in middle and high school. This opens up a big can of worms, because it will bring light to incestuous and abusive family systems.
In addition to obesity, there are many conditions and diseases that are set-up by childhood abuse and neglect. Developmental stages are missed or warped by the things that happen to children. The good news is, once we know what an individual's score is, we can help them heal with trauma resolution therapies and a focus on the resilience that developed because of the trauma.