TN report: Adverse childhood experiences impact brain development

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE (WATE) — More than one in six adults in Tennessee have had at last four adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), according to a new study by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.

The agency’s “KIDS Count: The State of the Child in Tennessee 2016” report looks into the importance of preventing and responding appropriately to ACEs.

“Research demonstrates Adverse Childhood Experiences can disrupt brain development, especially in young children,” said Linda O’Neal, TCCY executive director, “and present lifelong challenges for success in school, relationships, employment, and health across the lifespan.”

ACEs can be child abuse, neglect, family dysfunction and more. The commission says people with many ACEs are at risk of health and mental health challenges.

Tennesseans with four or more ACEs may have lower average income, lower educational attainment, poorer health, and higher rates of obesity, smoking, depression and heart disease.

Read the report

The report found out that location can impact the overall well-being of a child. Children in Shelby County had the most challenges while children in Williamson County had the least, according to the study.

“Where children live can have a substantial impact on the trajectory of their lives,” added O’Neal, “and supportive, nurturing communities and good public policies can be instrumental in helping overcome poverty, adversity and other challenging circumstances.”

The study found that many of the best ranking counties surrounded Nashville or were in West Tennessee.

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