By Holly Lebowitz Rossi
January 04, 2012

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement this week urging pediatricians to ask questions--and listen carefully--to identify warning signs that children are suffering under "toxic stress," a chronic stress condition that can have serious health implications later in life.

Toxic stress is different from everyday stress, as it is the result of prolonged exposure to intensely difficult situations, such as abusive or neglectful family relationships, poverty, or parental substance abuse or mental illness.  Health conditions including mental illness, obesity, diabetes and heart disease are linked to toxic stress.

Image: Upset child, via Shutterstock.

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