What toxic stress does to children’s health

Chronic adversity, or toxic stress, can have serious adverse effects on a child's health.

Examples of toxic stress are:

  • Poverty
  • Neglect
  • Bullying

Toxic stress can lead to:

  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Shortened life span

What is toxic stress? Toxic stress is the long-term, built-up stress from negative life circumstances.

Divorce is an obvious disruptor of childhood happiness, but more unavoidable circumstances like abuse, poverty or constant bullying are more inescapable and therefore may have more of an impact on the body.

Why does this happen? When feeling threatened, there is a part of the brain that releases cortisol, which pumps up the immune system in case of disease or injury. However, if this part of the brain is activated more often than the body needs, it can cause a child’s immune system to over-react, leading to the health risks listed above.   

What can help? Provide kids with more stimulating environments very early on in their lives. Examples of these could be (1) more exposure to books and (2) strong daily routines.

These efforts can cause short-term advances in IQ over peers.

In adulthood lead to lower rates of:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension

These efforts could also increase the chances the child acquires a college degree and maintains full-time employment. 

We hope this article takes you to greater health.

Please share this article with your friends and family so that they can also live a healthier life with easy and simple changes to the choices they make each day.