Kids exposed to trauma have higher health risks

| 09/06/2011

(HealthNewsDigest): New research has shown that children’s risk for learning, behaviour problems and obesity rises in correlation to their level of trauma exposure, says the psychiatrist at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital who oversaw the study. The study examined children living in a violent, low-income neighbourhood and documented an unexpectedly strong link between abuse, trauma and neglect and the children’s mental and physical health. It reported that children experiencing four types of trauma were 30 times more likely to have behaviour and learning problems than those not exposed to trauma.

“In communities where there is violence, where children are exposed to events such as shootings in their neighbourhoods, kids experience a constant environmental threat,” said senior author Victor Carrion, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford. “Contrary to some people’s belief, these children don’t get used to trauma. These events remain stressful and impact children’s physiology.”

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