Adverse Childhood Experiences
Children who experience trauma, such as neglect or physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, can suffer health and social consequences long into adulthood. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) cause social, emotional, and cognitive issues that can lead to mental illness, chronic health conditions, and premature death. If we can reduce the number of people traumatized early in life, we can improve health outcomes overall.
Per the National Survey of Children’s Health, in 2011-2012, nearly 48% of parents or guardians reported their child had one or more ACEs. The five states reporting the highest percentages of children ever having adverse childhood experiences are Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
Disability Associated with Chronic Conditions
Over time, we’ve seen an increase in the number of healthy years lost to premature death or disability because of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. In a Culture of Health, more people would live longer–free from disease or disability, or with better managed conditions–and the number of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) would decrease.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation measures the Global Burden of Disease, which found that DALYs for Alzheimer’s disease more than doubled between 1990 and 2010, while diabetes related DALYs increased by nearly 50% during the same period.