Day of the Girl: Improving Girls' Health and Safety
Learn what we can do to promote the health and safety of girls.
October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child, also known as Day of the Girl. This is a movement to raise awareness of issues that impact young girls worldwide. The international community comes together to highlight, discuss, celebrate, and ultimately advance girls' lives and opportunities across the globe. Learn about several of many important issues in the United States and what we can do to promote the health and safety of girls.
Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States. About 1 in 5 high school girls binge drink and half of all high school girls who drink alcohol report binge drinking. Binge drinking, defined for women as consuming 4 or more drinks on an occasion, increases the chances of learning and behavior problems, injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and many other health problems. Learn more about the consequences of underage drinking and preventing binge drinking.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes most cases of cervical cancer and some other kinds of cancer. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV vaccine protects against the HPV types that most often cause anal, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and mouth/throat cancers in women. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys when they are age 11 or 12 years. A recent CDC study showed that the HPV vaccine helped lower HPV infection rates in teen girls by half. In 2013, another study showed only 57% of girls and 35% of boys had started the HPV vaccine series that protects them from many of these serious cancers. Learn how to reduce risk for HPV infection and the cancers caused by HPV.
Indoor tanning increases skin cancer risk. The risk of cancer increases with each indoor tanning session and is highest among those who start tanning at a younger age. Nearly 33% of white high school girls have tanned indoors. Some start tanning as early as age 14, or even younger. Indoor tanning causes melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer) and premature skin aging, including wrinkles and age spots. Discourage indoor tanning and choose sun safety strategies that work: wear a hat, sunglasses, and other protective clothing, seek shade, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Young people (ages 15-24) account for half of all new STIs[1.57 MB], although they represent just 25% of the sexually experienced population. While the consequences of untreated STIs are often worse for young women, an analysis reveals that the annual number of new infections is roughly equal among young women and young men. Get the facts and learn ways to reduce the chances of getting an STI (including HIV) and where to get tested.
Sexual violence against girls is a significant problem around the world with severe health consequences. Studies indicate that 36% to 62% of reported sexual assaults are committed against girls age 15 and younger around the world. In the United States, 40.4% of female rape victims were first raped before age 18. Prevention approaches should aim to reduce risk factors for sexual violence.
Of students in grades 9-12, significantly more Hispanic female students (15.6%) reported attempting suicide[397 KB] than Black, non-Hispanic female students (10.7%) and White, non-Hispanic female students (8.5%). Among 15-24 year olds, suicide accounts for 11% of all deaths annually. Learn about thewarning signs of suicide and if these appear, connect the person to supportive services.
More than 86,000 teens ages 15 to 17 gave birth in 2012. Giving birth during the teen years has been linked with increased medical risks and emotional, social, and financial costs to the mother and her children. Becoming a teen mom affects whether the mother finishes high school, goes to college, and the type of job she will get, especially for younger teens ages 15 to 17. More can be done to prevent younger teens from becoming pregnant, particularly in health care.
Top Five Causes of Death, by Age Group, Females, 1-19 Years of Age, United States, 2010
|Rank||1-4 years old||5-9 years old||10-14 years old||15-19 years old|
|1||Unintentional injuries||Unintentional injuries||Unintentional injuries||Unintentional injuries|
|5||Heart disease||Heart disease||Heart disease||Heart disease|