Adverse childhood experiences and obesity over time

Miriam Schiff*, Jess Helton, John Fu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: The effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACE) on children and adolescents' health status such as obesity are understudied. The current study addressed the effect of ACE on obesity status during childhood utilising multiple waves of national panel data. Design: Longitudinal survey. Setting: Data were drawn from three waves of the second cohort of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II). NSCAW II study sampled cases from Child Protective Services investigations that were closed between February 2008 and April 2009 nationwide. We measured ACE cumulatively and as separate events and stratified by gender. Participants: Totally, 3170 youth births to 14 years of age at baseline. Results: A count measure of ACE is indeed associated with greater odds of obesity during childhood. Differential effects for different types of ACE were also found, most notably neglect. For girls, physical and psychological neglect increased odds of obesity. Conclusions: Findings support evidence for the importance of using both a count measure of ACE as well as separating out single events by gender.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3205-3209
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society.


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Child Protective Services
  • Child neglect
  • Childhood abuse
  • Longitudinal study
  • National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being
  • Obesity


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