Chester County Medicine Winter 2020 - 24

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International Adolescent Health Week
continued from page 23

can support conversations about interpersonal
violence in smaller settings throughout the week;
a free adolescent yoga class can be held to promote
mindfulness, stress management and physical activity;
healthy snacks can be offered throughout the week
or given out for free to those wearing lime green to
support healthy eating; health classes can moderate
discussions around sleeping and its effects on young
people's daily functioning, emotional regulation and
behavior; or medical professionals and youth can
contact government officials to advocate for policies
that promote healthy youth and healthy communities. Activities
can be as big or small as determined by the community; the
important aspect is that they contribute towards increasing
awareness and dialogue about adolescent health.
An important aspect of health education and preventive skills
is ensuring adolescents have strong health literacy skills, especially
with regards to online health information. Nearly 100% of
adolescents in countries with easily accessible internet search
for answers to health questions online. In addition, a third of
adolescents change their health behaviors based on what they find
online. Numerous organizations (e.g. United Nations, American
Academy of Pediatricians, National Library of Medicine, etc.)
recognize the importance of health literacy and digital literacy,
and are developing initiatives to improve these skills in all patient
populations, including amongst adolescents. Digital health
literacy is perhaps even more important in countries or populations
with fewer health resources, as patients cannot afford to spend
money on ineffective health treatments or advice. However, there
is still a significant gender and geographic gap in terms of internet
access worldwide - with 346 million youth not connected to the
internet.
Behaviors of young people are influenced both positively and
negatively by friends, family, schools, community, and society.
The week provides an opportunity across our global communities
to emphasize young people's health education and engagement
in a positive way. Adolescents are agents of change and IAHW
specifically involves them in health discussions that can positively
affect their well-being. In addition to learning the very important
skills of health self-advocacy, adolescents too can positively
influence health behaviors in other adolescents, their own families,
and communities.
Being a part of IAHW is easy. Here are a few ideas to get you
thinking about how you or the youth in your community can
participate:
* Wear lime green or share lime green giveaways and prizes all
week long.

24 CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine | WINTER 2020

* Share educational social media posts about adolescent health
issues using #IAHW2020.
* Write a letter to the editor about a health issue relevant to
adolescents in your community.
* Meet with local government to advocate for policy that
benefits youth.
* Invite a speaker or plan an assembly that week to learn about
a health issue.
* Obtain a resolution or proclamation from local government
commemorating IAHW.
* Youth groups can plan events to celebrate adolescent health
and well-being.
* Local businesses can offer discounts to adolescents during
IAHW.
* Community buildings and bridges can be illuminated lime
green all week. For example, if you are in the Philadelphia area,
make sure to look up at the skyline from March 19-21 to see
several buildings and Boathouse Row illuminated lime green in
honor of IAHW.
For additional ideas, pictures from previous years, free
resources and to sign up to receive updates, please visit https://
internationaladolescenthealthweek.org/index.html and follow
International Adolescent Health Week on social media:
*	 Twitter: @IAHW2020
*	 Instagram: @adolescent_health_week
*	 Facebook: @internationaladolescenthealthweek
*	#IAHW2020
IAHWis a grass-roots initiative for young people, their doctors
and health care providers, their teachers, their parents, their
advocates and their communities to come together and celebrate
young people and with an ultimate goal of working collectively
towards improving the health and well-being of the over 1 billion
adolescents across the globe today. Small actions by many people
working together create great change.


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Chester County Medicine Winter 2020

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