085: The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study

Episode 085: Welcome back to another instalment of Real Health Radio. This week we are looking at the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study. It uncovers how trauma as a child can impact on someone’s health and behaviours in later life. And despite the study being nearly 20 years old, too few people know about considering its importance. 

The ACE study



Here’s what I talk about in this podcast episode:

3:35 Vincent Felitti and Kaiser Permanente

5:30 The drop out rates at the obesity clinic

6:05 The surprising discovery

10:45 How the CDC got involved and started the ACE study

12:25 What are adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

17:00 How common are they?

20:05 What impact do they have on health?

24:30 Why do they impact on health and behaviour?

38:20 Comparing this to some of Malcolm Gladwell’s work

48:40 How ACEs could skew research results

49:55 What can we do about the situation


Links mentioned during the show:

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study

The ACE Questionnaire (NEW)

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Revisionist History – Carlos Doesn’t Remember

Call Me Lucky


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Chris Sandel is the founder of www.seven-health.com. He is a nutritionist, working with clients on a one-on-one basis, as well as creating online trainings and products about health and nutrition. He is the author of The Health Trap: Why "Healthy" Eating Isn't Always Healthy which is available on Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

Chris has three free emails series. One is on how to quit dieting. One is on simple tests you can do at home. And the other is his take on the world's healthiest foods.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I wanted to offer some hope to balance the horrifying results of these studies. This information is helpful and eye-opening for those with a low ACE score, but shattering for those of us with higher scores. A person with a high ACE score has severe PTSD, but there is hope for healing. Learning to be present in our bodies in the present moment, learning to turn the hate, disgust and rage at what was done to us and the perpetrators instead of ourselves -those emotions WILL exist, and trying to make a victim forgive stunts the healing process as these emotions are internalized instead of processed. I wanted to point out that the body is a self-healing machine. The stresses can be removed, creating space for love, healthy connection, and healing. There is so much pressure put on victims to conform to society, accept and forgive the perpetrators, and make excuses for them, all of which perpetuate the abuse. But we can and do heal. My ACE score is 9 because my parents didn’t go to prison (but should have.) I have been told by health professionals from medical doctors to psychologists that I should be dead. Don’t be another voice telling me only how the odds are stacked against me. I do have a host of health issues, and I have clinically died twice (I am 31). But I am alive today, with a rich appreciation for the good in life. Chris, research the effects of positive connections, the amazing ways our bodies can heal, and be a voice of hope for us. Thank you for getting the knowledge out there. Don’t let us be blind to the horrifying truth, but shed light on the hope that exists as well. I am proof. Some days I am even happy. And I intend to live past 80.

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