The International Day for Girl Child (IDG) is observed on 11th October, every year. It was started in 2012 as the dire need for raising awareness on the importance of developing a sustainable society for the girl child. Girl empowerment is more than a need and it is essential for any society in order to thrive in harmony. It also aims to address the challenges faced by the girl children both in terms of societal and health teenage girl issues a girl child faces while promoting girl empowerment, gender equality and sustainable development goals opportunities. A global action for a social and political revolution is undertaken to break down barriers, address major health risks and empower girls and women to transform their lives as well as communities.
The biggest threat, however, remains to be health concerns and risks which can often be avoided through a preventive health check up. From birth due to the vulnerable atmosphere girl children are prone to get major health risks that hinder a girl child’s ability to grow and develop to their maximum potential. Common health concerns include a substantial increase in premature death, injury, violence, lack of nutritious meals and obesity.
Here are four major health risks and health tips for girls and parents to prevent it:
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety disorders, stress, and extreme sadness increase the risk of mental health problems in girls. Schools and communities can offer health tip for girls through psychosocial support and encourage teenagers to be more open and talk about their problems. Early intervention, building life skills, strong family ties and promoting good health can successfully treat this problem among the youth.
Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are popularly caused by an obsessive fear of weight gain. Unhealthy food behaviours such as dieting, bingeing, starving or purging to cope with food as a means of overcoming stressful situations are the major causes.
As such teenage health issues can go undetected for years, parents are advised to often take their daughters for a preventive health check up. Health tip for girls to overcome this is to ensure the right dietary plan, regular de-worming, iron and folic acid supplements, and nutritious foods while attending to medical and psychological needs.
Obesity affects more girls than boys and can lead to common health concerns in the long term including heart diseases, hormonal imbalance, PCOS, infertility, and more. Poor eating and sleeping habits, lack of physical activity, hereditary and associated hormonal changes are some of the major causes.
Parent must take responsibility to encourage daughters to participate in physical activity such as sports or outdoor activities. Restriction to TV and gadgets, the inclusion of adequate fruits and vegetables, and proper sleeping hours can prevent obesity.
Teen Pregnancy and HIV
A predominant increase in HIV deaths among teenagers and adolescents is rising. Apart from major health risks, they don’t always get the best care and support to remain healthy and prevent transmission. Many may not even be aware of the outcome especially girls who get pregnant at a young age without understanding the high risks that can be fatal.
Parents must have open conversations with their daughters regarding safe sex, menstruations and often opt for preventive health check up. Communication is the best way for them to confide honestly even if they make a mistake or have serious concerns regarding changes in their body.