Stress early, disease later

Childhood stress affects health into adulthood, study finds

Emotional stress such as the loss of a loved one, chronic financial insecurity and traumatic social interactions can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes later in life, even in the relative absence of stress in adult years, a new study finds.

The researchers, whose findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, analyzed a British study that tracked the diets, habits and emotional health of thousands of children beginning in 1958 and put participants through a biomedical assessment when they turned 45, according to

Those with the most persistent stress both as children and adults were at the highest risk, the researchers found. But early life experiences were a surprisingly important factor in lifelong health—though that relationship isn't fully understood, the authors noted.