Community leaders team up to help DC teens with health self-care messages
The DC Department of Health (DOH), teen community leaders and multi-sector partners joinied forces on Monday, May 21st to launch their first ever teen focused public health awareness campaign. The kick-off event, which took place at Deanwood Recreation Center, was held with the support of special guests who include NBC4’s host, Big Tigger, El Zol’s radio host, Pedro Biaggi, WPGC’s on-air personality, Sunni, and DC Youth Ambassador, Markus Batchelor. Community teens shared their experiences with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as well as presented an array of talents such as singing, cooking, and showing their leadership skills for kick-off event.
The city-wide public teen health campaign aims to create awareness and increase knowledge of health and wellness for District teens through the promotion of exercise, nutrition and annual health checkups. DOH will provide teens with information and resources on how to keep their bodies safe and healthy during their teenage years to utlimately extend lifespans and reduce risk of developing chronic diseases.
“This initiative will allow DOH the opportunity to enact a measureable and effective campaign that will encourage teens to focus on the health of their bodies while they are young, to ensure that they will able to live long and healthy lives into adulthood,” said Dr. Mohammad Akhter Director DC Department of Health. “Creating awareness among our most vulnerable populations through initiatives that focus on preventative health, wellness and education have the potential to directly enhance the quality of life for many of our District teens.”
According to recent reports, 32 percent of teens are obese in the District of Columbia. Additionally, 16 percent of high school students smoke tobacco and there are 53 youth (age 13-19) living with HIV. In 2009, there were 24 new cases of HIV amoung young people. The growing numbers of obesity and increased smoking in teens prompted DOH to launch the initaitve. I Care About Me® is sponsored through funding from the Health Resources & Services Adminstration (HRSA).