Adverse Childhood Experiences and Obesity: A One-to-One Correlation?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical child psychology and psychiatry




ACE; BMI; Obesity; adverse childhood experiences; child abuse; childhood trauma


INTRODUCTION: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been associated with physical and emotional problems such as obesity and depression in adulthood. This study evaluated the relationship between ACE scores and the severity of obesity. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 119 adult patients at the GW Weight Management Clinic. They filled out an ACE survey examining trauma and household dysfunction. The main outcome was the severity of obesity measured by Body Mass Index (BMI). We estimated the adjusted mean difference between high and low ACE risk groups using - linear regression. RESULTS: The data suggest a positive relationship between ACE score and BMI. Patients with severe obesity are more likely to be a high ACE risk (50%) compared to others (24-25%). The average BMI in the high ACE risk group is 3.64 (95% CI: 0.25-7.03) higher than those in the low ACE risk group. The linear regression also showed that as the ACE score increased by 1, BMI increased by 1 unit (95% CI: 0.15-1.77). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest ACE is not just related with the prevalence of obesity, but also the severity of obesity in the overweight and obese population. The linear regression also showed that as the ACE score increased by 1, the BMI increased by 1 unit as well.