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A Meta-Analysis of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Weight-Related Health Outcomes in Adulthood

14 June 2019


Three out of every five youth experience one or more traumatic events during childhood, also known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). ACEs are associated with a number of negative health outcomes, including higher odds of disability, risky health behaviors, and morbidity in adulthood even after controlling for related demographic information (Campbell, Walker, & Egede, 2016). To date, meta-analytic research on ACEs has not provided a focused and comprehensive evaluation of weight-related outcomes (i.e., obesity, disordered eating, Type II diabetes, and physical inactivity). The present meta-analysis seeks to fill gaps in the literature and build upon prior research by conducting an exhaustive literature search, focusing on numerous weight-related outcomes, including a larger data pool via less stringent inclusion criteria, including updated research, and including all types of ACEs as predictors. In those reporting at least four ACEs, an increased risk for overweight/obesity, Type II diabetes, and physical inactivity compared to no ACE exposure was found. Results resolved discordant findings in the literature by including updated research and using more comprehensive search methods to better understand the effects of ACEs on adult weight-related health outcomes.


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