On Saturday Sept. 29, The Harbert Center was transformed into a 1920s nightclub as the UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) Young Professionals Board presented Harlem in the ‘Ham. "We were excited to bring a fun, casino night event an awesome purpose to Birmingham in order to help children be heathier and prevent childhood obesity,” said the board president, Prince Cleveland, MPA.
Proceeds from Harlem in the ‘Ham benefit Healthy Happy Kids, the MHRC’s childhood obesity intervention. Since the first Casino Royale in 2009, more than 3,000 young professionals, business and community leaders have raised more than $350,00 to help children learn healthy living skills.
"In the United States, obesity occurs at higher rates in racial and ethnic minority populations. Also, cultural factors influence dietary and exercise behaviors, and research has shown these play a major role in the development of excess weight in minority groups," said Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, director of the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine and director of the MHRC. "We focus on these groups of children for this program to help them learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle."
Over 1,400 students from 21 Birmingham afterschool programs and summer camps have learned healthy living lessons and taking them home. “Each year we are moved by how much these children learn and are able to teach their families and community members,” said Fouad.