World Health Day 2019: the Young Health Programme in Brazil
Meet our newest youth team and discover how they’re helping the next generation to live healthy lives.
To mark World Health Day this Sunday, 7 April, we're celebrating AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme.
It’s an inspiring global initiative that’s empowering young people to tackle risk behaviours, such as lack of exercise, unhealthy diets, smoking and alcohol, to help prevent non-communicable diseases including diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory and heart diseases.
Last month, I travelled to Brazil to meet the programme’s newest youth team, and I can honestly say I’ve never met a group of more energetic, enthusiastic and inspiring young people. But what stood out most of all was their genuine friendship and support for each other.
Daniela, 18, is one of the young people teaching her friends, family and community how to live healthier lives. She’s young, confident and wants to be an actress – the perfect combination for someone who's successfully sharing this information through theatre performances, podcasts and videos. People in her community listen to her, and they're choosing to change the way they live.
Jose, 16, has made a real impact on his friends. Since joining the Young Health Programme, he’s learnt and shared information about the risks of smoking – his friends used to smoke constantly, now they smoke much less. The programme has also made Jose more confident. He thrives in front of crowds and speaking to groups of people, so it’s no surprise he wants to join the circus when he’s older.
Thiago, 15, knows that to reach more young people, the team must share information on social media. Like he says, young people are spending most of their time online. Closer to home, he’s also made a life changing impact on his mum. He’s taught her about the benefits of eating healthier and doing more exercise, and now she’s regularly going to the gym and out for walks.
Camilla is passionate about the health of young people in her community and has already noticed a change in her and her friends’ diets. She regularly interviews healthcare professionals as part of her evaluation of local health services, to make sure they're meeting young people’s needs and that young people can access the services they need.
Creating a stronger, healthier community
The youth team share their knowledge in all kinds of ways, including producing videos and podcasts, which are watched and listened to in schools and youth clubs, and street theatre.
The performances look at the risks of certain behaviours and the team approach those who have stopped to watch, passing on vital information. It really does attract a crowd!
The programme has a serious side of course, but it does something incredibly unique. It brings together a group of young people, who may not know each other, and may be dealing with challenging issues and behaviours they never before considered to be a risk.
But together, they have fun, learn, share, and ultimately create a stronger, healthier community.
Their messages are rippling through schools, youth centres and communities in Brazil, as they make sure the next generation are living healthy and happy lives.
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