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Party like Gatsby at Harlem in the ‘Ham

By Adam Pope
UAB News

On Saturday, Sept. 29,  the Young Professionals Board of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) will present Harlem in the ’Ham, a fun-filled party with a purpose — to help prevent childhood obesity.

The Harbert Center will once again be the site of the 1920s-themed casino fundraiser.

“We were thrilled with the response to last year’s event,” said MHRC Young Professionals Board President Prince Cleveland. “This year, we’re coming back even stronger.”

Proceeds from Harlem in the ’Ham will benefit Healthy Happy Kids, the MHRC’s childhood obesity intervention. Since the first Casino Royale in 2009, more than 2,500 young professionals and business and community leaders have raised more than $275,000 to help children learn healthy living skills.

“In the United States, obesity occurs at higher rates in racial and ethnic minority populations,” said Mona Fouad, M.D., director of the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine and director of the MHRC. “Cultural factors influence dietary and exercise behaviors, and research has shown these play a major role in the development of excess weight in minority groups. We focus on these groups of children for this program to help them learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Without community support, we couldn’t provide the resources needed to help children learn to live a healthy life.”

More than 1,300 students from 20 Birmingham city schools have learned healthy living lessons and taken them home.

“Each year, we are moved by how much these children learn and are able to teach their families and community members,” Fouad added.

The event is open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m. Roaring ’20s costumes are encouraged. For more information, contact Susan Driggers at sdriggers@uabmc.edu.