Childhood Stress May Raise Adult Diabetes Risk
If you had high levels of stress as a child, you have a higher risk of developing diabetes or heart disease later in life.
That’s the conclusion of a study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, for which researchers monitored close to 7,000 people for an average of 45 years. All were born within the same week and had data on their stress and mental health collected at 7, 11, 16, 23, 33 and 42 years old.
Then at age 45, blood pressure was taken for all participants, and bloodwork was done to examine nine biological markers. Together, this data allowed researchers to calculate a score that determined a person’s risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Participants who experienced high levels of stress during childhood tended to have higher ‘cardiometabolic’ scores than those with low levels of childhood stress. The researchers, from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, also noticed that those with higher stress well into middle-age were more likely to have been overweight as a child.
After accounting for other factors, such as socioeconomic status, medication use, and health behaviors, the researchers found that the cardiometabolic risk scores were still higher in those with high childhood stress and stress into adulthood, compared to the low-stress group.