Childhood stress it turns out is a big deal. In fact children who have suffered ongoing emotional stress and anxiety have an increased chance of developing damaging health effects well into adulthood.
A British study followed over 6000 children born in 1958 for a remarkable period over 40 years. During that time the study subjects physical and emotional well being were assessed multiple times. By the age of 45 the risks for diabetes and heart disease were determined.
Those unfortunate individuals who suffered childhood stress that continued into adulthood were not unsurprisingly at the highest risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. However, what was perhaps unexpected was that even those with low levels of adult stress remained at higher risk if they had experienced childhood emotional stress.
What this tells us is that childhood stress, especially the emotional type, sets up individuals for a lifelong increased risk for at least heart disease and diabetes. I would not at all be surprised if these persons have higher risks for other serious diseases such as cancer.
The brain body connection is well established. Public health authorities need to pay close attention to studies like this one. Preventive measures should be taken.
At risk children need to be identified early and helped. As parents, we should try to keep our children healthy both in body and mind.