Keeping girls healthy

Keeping girls healthy

HSC students, residents take part in first Girls Place health fair

By Jamie Harrison

UF students and pediatrics residents took part in the recent Girls Place health fair./Photo by Maria Belen Farias

Inside the gymnasium at Girls Place on April 13, young girls ran from table to table learning about different aspects of health, from body image and self-esteem to nutrition and exercise. The tables and displays, strategically placed around the room, were part of the organization’s first health fair for girls.

“I had a lot a fun,” said Nyla Johnson. “I learned about brushing your teeth and not smoking.”

Girls Place is a nonprofit organization that sponsors sports, summer day camp and afterschool programs for school-age girls.

Health education major and Girls Place intern Francis Michelle Decenteceo and her team of helpers organized the health fair, which included students and residents from the UF HSC and organizations such as the CHOICES program and the Alachua County Organization for Rural Needs Dental Clinic.

Medical students and residents from the UF College of Medicine department of pediatrics talked with the girls to promote physical activity, helmet safety and sun safety, and distributed little samples of sunscreen.

UF audiology students from the College of Public Health and Health Professions did a hearing loss prevention activity, letting the girls listen to music and explaining to them when the sound is too loud to be safe. They also did coloring sheets with the girls and passed out ear plugs.

Each time a student visited an educational table, she would get a stamp that allowed her to do a fun activity, such as face-painting. There were also smoothies, raffles and jump-roping.

The program lasted an hour.

“We wanted to do something that encompasses all aspects of health,” Decenteceo said. “I’m really excited that the girls are really into it and having fun.”