Nutrition program guides teens to healthier future

Published 3:46 pm Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Students in Carter County are learning important skills about how to select and prepare healthy foods thanks to a partnership between an ETSU Health provider and the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton.

Dr. Evelyn Artz, an ETSU Health provider who is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric endocrinology and lifestyle medicine, has a passion for helping children learn to make healthy choices.

She received a Community Access to Child Health Program grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics that allowed her to develop an interactive after-school program in partnership with the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club.

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“As a pediatric endocrinologist, I am now addressing concerns related to obesity and lifestyle issues that are very different than in my early years of practice,” Dr. Artz said. “I now see patients with type 2 diabetes in increasing frequency and at a significantly younger age as well as the other related conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.”

She believes that many adolescents have the motivation to change, but lack the knowledge of how impactful their lifestyle decisions may be.

Through cooking lessons, grocery store visits, and even take-home kitchen supplies, Dr. Artz is educating participants about how they can avoid weight gain and lead healthy lifestyles. 

“I know this project is helping our youth and their families from the feedback we have heard from our parents and guardians,” said Nicole Hensley, Teen Director at the local Club. “Dr. Artz’s program goes beyond here at the Club and directly to the homes, because every visit she sends home healthy, fresh groceries with our Club members. These take-home bags are filled with ingredients our kids used in their cooking project for that visit. Our families have reached out to us and told us how appreciative of these groceries they are!”

Residents and medical students with ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine have assisted Dr. Artz, giving them the opportunity to appreciate the importance of community outreach as providers.   

Dr. Artz hopes to continue and expand the program, with the goal of guiding participants to a healthier future.

With 30 clinical sites and more than 300 health care providers, ETSU Health is on the front lines of efforts to improve the health of Northeast Tennessee by offering leading-edge health care in dozens of specialties.

ETSU Health is the outward-facing brand that includes the pursuits of ETSU’s thriving Academic Health Science Center and the clinical components of ETSU Physicians & Associates and Northeast Tennessee Community Health Centers Inc. For more information, visit


NW0524 Nutrition program 1

Contributed Photo

Students in Carter County learn important skills about selecting and preparing healthy foods through a partnership between an ETSU Health provider and the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton.


NW0524 Nutrition program 2

Contributed Photo

Evelyn M. Artz, M.D. (left), is pictured with Isabelle Lewis, RN, CDCES (right).