Friday, August 1, 2014

AAP: Toxic Stress Threatens Kids’ Long-term Health

Pediatricians have long had a window into the troubles facing young patients and their families. Now, emerging data on how early exposure to adversity can impair long-term health and development have led the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other thought leaders to call for more effective and aggressive intervention for children in distress.

In June, the AAP convened a symposium on the long-term dangers of childhood toxic stress—early exposure to chronic unmitigated stress—and urged pediatricians, policy makers, and federal agencies to develop a stronger national response. To facilitate these efforts, the AAP announced it will launch the Center on Healthy, Resilient Children to help pediatricians and others identify toxic stress in children and connect them with appropriate resources.

“We are now recognizing in medical science and practice that there are real and significant effects when children grow up with toxic and persistent stress,” said Robert W. Block, MD, past president of the AAP, in an interview. “Those effects take a toll on the ability to learn in school and informally.”

Read more about the science of stress, enlisting parents and building capacity in the full article on The Journal of the American Medical Association website.