Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have long-lasting health impacts over the lifetime of an individual. Research shows a connection between the number of ACEs an individual experiences and their risk for negative health outcomes like asthma, diabetes, cancer, substance use, and suicide in adulthood. A recent CDC study of data from across the United States found that around two thirds of adults reported at least one ACE, and one in six reported four or more ACEs. CDC estimates that the prevention of ACEs could avoid 21 million cases of depression and 1.9 million cases of heart disease.
The Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences Act, introduced by Sen. Angus King and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, is a bipartisan effort to support critical efforts at CDC to prevent ACEs and promote positive childhood experiences through grants for data-driven, evidenced-based strategies. It would also support new research on the impact of ACEs with a focus on the frequency and intensity of ACEs, the relationship between ACEs and negative health outcomes, and the influence of risk and protective factors.
TFAH is proud to join with over 30 health and child wellness organizations to support the bill. Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health, stated: “Given the connection between ACEs and the risk of overdose and suicide, it is critical that we invest in efforts to prevent ACEs in all communities. This important legislation would support research to build upon our previous understanding of trauma and ACEs and give communities the tools to help protect children and promote lifelong health and well-being.”