January 21, 2021
The ACEs Study
In the early 1990s, a physician named Vincent Felitti who worked for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego asked a patient who had lost a great deal of weight in a weight loss program why they had dropped out.
The answer given stunned Dr. Felitti.
That person and many of the other patients in the program that Dr. Felitti interviewed individually expressed that they believed the weight loss made them feel too vulnerable. Many of those he questioned also disclosed experiencing childhood sexual abuse and that they thought deep inside that the excess weight protected them from attack.
The findings of Dr. Felitti were of interest to Dr. Robert Auda who worked for the centers for disease control (CDC), and together they initiated the CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.
In the years between 1995-1997, a study involving 17,000 participants attempt to measure the number of adverse childhood experiences the subjects had experienced throughout their lives. They wanted to understand the relationship between ACEs and the health and life functioning of people who had experienced events in their childhood which were extremely negative.
The study was the first and largest of its kind centered around examining the impact of traumatic events experienced in childhood and their effect on the health of adults.