Sonya Dunlap

Date of Award


Degree Name

Healthcare Administration


College of Business

Type of Degree


Document Type

Research Paper

First Advisor

Alberto Coustasse


Introduction: Obesity was defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) over the 95th percentile as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Childhood obesity has been a worldwide concern, but has disproportionately affected the socioeconomically disadvantaged, racial/ethical minorities, and rural children. The presence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) contributed to social and health problems. ACEs included the areas of domestic violence, mental illness, neighborhood violence, parent or guardian death, divorce or separation, parent or guardian incarceration, and substance misuse.

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this research was to compare the ACEs scores with childhood obesity percentages in WV and determine if there is a correlation across the country with elevated childhood obesity and high ACEs. In addition, the obesity rates of the twelve states who did not participate in Medicaid expansion will be compared to the ones who did participate.

Methodology: A literature review was utilized with a total of 59 relevant citations collected from 4 databases and various websites. After review, 28 sources were selected as relevant to the study and used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted via telephone and email. The interviews were approved by an institutional review board with informed consent being obtained verbally. The articles included in the study were limited to those conducted in the United States (US) and published in English between the years of 2011 and 2022.

Results: The results showed that there is a correlation between elevated ACEs scores and elevated BMI above the 95th percentile categorizing them as obese. In addition, there was a correlation between lowered obesity rates in states that accepted Medicaid Expansion.

Discussion/Conclusion: The research demonstrated the relationship between elevated ACEs and BMI as well as the positive results available with the states participating in Medicaid Expansion.


Health services administration.

Health facilities -- Business management.

Obesity in children -- Government policy.


Dunlap-Sonya-2022-References.pdf (129 kB)