What is "Aces," and why do I think it matters?
"Aces" is a study done in a joint effort by the Centre for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente in 1995. Yes, I said 1995. Even though this groundbreaking research is more than 20 years old, it is crucial for us to be aware of it because the continued research supports its findings and is expanding on them.
There can be some major health issues and risks for those who have a high Aces score as we get older. In a world where we now focus on the gender gap, the education gaps, and the economic gaps in our society, we also need to focus on things like this to understand childhood's long-term effects on health and happiness. To understand fully how we have so many adults who have health issues ranging from obesity to substance abuse, we need to understand how people grow and develop into adulthood.
Aces' basic premise is that the more traumatic, abusive or stressful your childhood was, the greater your risk for adverse health issues in adulthood. This is important for us to be aware of because, as adults, we need to know we are at greater risk so we can be more aware of when things may be going wrong. We need to watch for warning signs and make appropriate changes to our lives as we need to. We can create ways to reduce our stress and deal with our overall health as needed as we become aware of our personal risks.
If we aren't aware that we are at or could be at a greater health risk, then we may not notice when things start to go wrong. While I fully believe we
as adults should do the things we can to reduce our stress and take care of ourselves, it's more important if you are someone at a greater risk of health issues because of your childhood.
This study's findings were that the higher a child's Aces score was, the greater their risk was for outcomes like teen pregnancy, substance use and abuse, lower levels of education, risk of poverty and low-income employment, and stress-related health issues like heart disease and cancer.
Of course, these scores are not an indication that this is what a child's life will become. It's simply an indicator that the risk is higher in children who have high aces scores than those with low ace scores.
With that being said, I suggest for those of who you who may be curious that you take the test and see what your score would be. You can take the test online at ( https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean
). Keep in mind this is not the official, full test that was given to all the participants in the study, but it will give you some of the questions and a final score. Out of the 10 questions you will be asked online, a score of 4 or more puts you in the high-risk category.
The test itself consisted of three types of Aces (pictured below)
You can learn more about the research here ( https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/index.html )
I am posting about it today because I think it's important for everyone to know that even if you have a high Aces score (like I do), you can still live a healthy and happy life. You can avoid major health issues by focusing on your overall health a little more and learning how to reduce major stressors in your adult life. You can increase your education or find mentors to help you learn new skills that can change your life.
We are not just statistics. We are not stuck where we are in life. We can (sometimes, with help from others) build a new path. You are not destined to have a crappy life just because your childhood was. You don't have to be what you've always been told to be.
You have a lot of power (even though you may not think you do) as an adult to shape a different life than the one you were raised in. Now more than any other time in our history, we have access to resources that can positively change our lives. We have resources freely available to be able to educate ourselves on health and stress. We have access to places where we can learn how to reduce our stress. We can learn what nutrition is and how it affects us. We know now how emotional well-being is just as important as physical well-being.
If you haven't had a chance to check out the links above, I suggest you do; it could help you or someone you know.
Please remember no matter what your score, you have the power to live a life that is healthy and happy now. There are people and places that can help you do that if you don't know where to start.