Three-year health study of teenage girls is underway at Trenton Central High School

A novel program that measures the effect of intervention on the synergistic relationship between exercise, nutrition, cardiovascular health and self-esteem in adolescent girls is the foundation of a new three-year health study called Teen Esteem that has been introduced at Trenton Central High School by the Women's Heart Foundation.

It is the first study of its kind in the state to measure the long-term effect of an intervention on reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease while tracking other measures such as the early onset of Type 2 diabetes as well as self-esteem and its possible role in weight management. It is meant to be a replacement for traditional gymnastics and health classes.

Operating from a $75,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services Office on Women's Health and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, and from smaller grants of $2,000 from the Pi Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International, $1,000 from the New Jersey Institute for Nursing, and $500 from Theta Sigma Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau of Maryland University. The Teen Esteem program also has support from ShapesUSA, Roma Bank, Griffith Electric, Century Kitchens and Bath, Trenton Farmers Market and Home Depot.

According to Kathleen C. Ashton, PhD, APRN, BC, Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing at Rutgers University Camden and the study's principal investigator, the curriculum is focused on healthy eating beginning with where each girl is now and modifying according to food preferences.

"There is a focus on understanding food labels, making healthy choices and involving the family and community. Teen Esteem differs from other health programs offered at the school in that it complements and extends the current curriculum while teaching principles to be used over a lifetime. It is especially geared to adolescent girls and focuses on the issues confronting them," says Dr.Ashton, who is being supported by Ellamarie Russo-DeMara,

Contact: Bonnie Arkus
Womens Heart Foundation

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