UAB to host inaugural Birmingham Teen Health Week

Teen Health Week will promote healthy behaviors in adolescents and young adults in the Birmingham community.   
Written by: Hannah Bae
Media contact: Savannah Koplon

Teen Health Week logo w. hashtagThe University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Adolescent Medicine will host the inaugural Birmingham Teen Health Week, a global initiative to encourage teens across the world to invest in their own physical and mental health and further develop healthy behaviors, starting on April 1 and running through April 7.

According to the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies, young adults have the highest rates of morbidity and mortality from motor vehicles, homicides, mental health problems, sexually transmitted infections and substance abuse. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services notes that one in five adolescents is considered obese.

UAB students and Department of Pediatrics physicians — along with partners such as the City of Birmingham — will be spotlighting specific topics of concern for this population, while hosting engaging and community-based events.

During the formative stages of adolescence and young adulthood, established behavioral habits can often increase risk of negative health outcomes in adulthood. Additionally, while this age group is generally healthy, it is common for adolescents to experience social, behavioral, mental and physical issues. UAB is looking not only to be a part of the conversation, but to lead efforts in the city.

“Teen Health Week is a global initiative to raise awareness of health issues and opportunities facing teens all over the world,” said Tamera Coyne-Beasley, M.D., MPH, director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine. “Through a wide variety of local, state, national and international programs and activities, Teen Health Week encourages teens and their families to take charge of their physical and mental health to facilitate healthy habits and resiliency that they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

Topics that will be discussed throughout the week include:

  • Gender and sexual development
  • Physical activity
  • Preventive care and vaccines/nutrition
  • Violence/interpersonal violence
  • Substance use/mental health
  • Educational attainment
  • Family engagement

Teens in the area have been recruited as Teen Health Week ambassadors and will help get other teens involved via the UAB Adolescent Health Youth Advisory Board, which is also made up of enrolled UAB students who are committed to further Teen Health Week’s mission and goals.

Community members and organizations are also collaborating to create programs and events for adolescent and young adult health promotion. Community partners include Magic City Acceptance, Community Care Development Network, Girls Inc. of Central Alabama, the Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services, Brian Kelleher Real Estate Team and LockIn Birmingham, Inc.

More information about Birmingham’s Teen Health Week can be found here.