Trenton NGCL: My Visit to Capital Health

NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders Empowering Trenton through Youth Civic Engagement

“You are what you eat” is a famous quote because our health shapes our everyday lives. The simplest bit of calories matter, whether eating a single chocolate chip cookie or eating a whole pack of them. I think the body mass index (BMI) of kids is increasing faster than adults. Youth deserve an opportunity to develop healthier eating habits, and become healthier individuals.

Our Next Generation Community leaders (NGCL) team visited Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton to learn more about this matter. Our NGCL team received Fitbits and proceeded to take the stair run test. For this exercise, we were each asked to note our normal heart rate. Next, we quickly walked up three or four flights of stairs in about two minutes. After walking the stairs, we checked our heart rates again. Mine had increased, and returned to its normal rate in a short amount of time. It was a great cardio activity to get our blood flowing.  We then tested out different healthy foods such as salads and soups, along with amazing smoothies. I realized one reason why kids don’t eat healthier is because they don’t know how delicious these foods are. Kids would surely love the selection of healthy foods like we did!

Next, we listened to an awesome presentation by Kim Watson, and Sarah Crowley, the hosts of our visit. Kim is a registered nurse and coordinator of the Pediatric Wellness Program. Sarah is a registered dietician and co-chair of the Pediatric Wellness Program. They shared statistics on obesity and the ethnic factors linked to obesity. My peers brought up the topic of school lunches, stating they aren’t the best quality, which helps to explain why kids aren’t eating them. If school lunches not only tasted better, but offered more of Capital Health’s recommended serving sizes, it could impact how people eat. Youth don’t always get consistent exercise either. You’ll be amazed what a 10-minute walk every day could do for you.

My peers and I have incorporated healthier habits since that day.  We’re running and walking more, and trying different salads.

Our NGCL Millhill team enjoyed the experience, and were very pleased with Capital Health’s presentation and hospitality. My peers and I have incorporated healthier habits since that day.  We’re running and walking more, and trying different salads that entice us.

“I could play less video games and play a game outside,” said Omar Morales, who is also a part of our NGCL team. This mentality is a deal breaker to turnaround the growth of obesity in America; especially in children. We need to shift momentum and make the healthy choice the easy choice, supporting self-discipline and encouragement for each other. The change is in our hands.

See the Year One Trenton Next Generation Community Leaders’ work through their StandingTALL Facebook page. Track all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams through the hashtag #NJLeaders2030.

The Grantee Blog publishes a different NJHI-supported community’s update every week. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.


Shai'day Thomas
Millhill Child & Family Development