Wende and Ercelle Anthony

Wende and Ercelle Anthony share a special bond. As sisters, they not only live together, but together they've endured a 10 - week controlled feeding study called "GET READI" at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) designed to look at heart disease risk factors in African-Americans.

"The main motivation was my sister," Wende said. "If I didn't stay, she couldn't. The other motivating factor was that I had agreed to take part and it was for only a short time."

"We are very close friends as well as sisters," Ercelle said. "It was my idea to take part in the study and she (Wende) trusted me enough to get involved." The Anthony sisters knew that heart disease might be an issue in their family. Their maternal grandfather died of a heart attack in his early 60s, and Ercelle had been advised by her doctor to follow a heart healthy diet in order to avoid cholesterol medication.

"My cholesterol went down 50 points during the 5 weeks I was on the heart health phase of the diet," Ercelle said.

"Go into it with an open mind. Leave your food issues at home and try something different," Ercelle said. "Think of it this way: you are doing something for a greater good, not just your health, but that of your family's and others you may never meet."

Scott Westbrook

My sweet wife called me on my cell phone one day in April to tell me that she had heard about the CALERIE Study at Pennington. I think that this was her way of kindly hinting to me that I had "let myself go".

When I turned 41 in January, I knew that I needed and wanted to address the long-term issues of a sedentary lifestyle, nutrition and the eventual effects on my body and health in general.

For my height, I am slightly overweight. I have lacked basic understanding of actual caloric content in everyday foods. Prior to being part of the CALERIE study, I had not given much consideration my daily caloric intake, or just how many calories were in certain foods of a typical American diet. I just ate whatever was in front of me, and a lot of it.

I am truly enjoying being a part of the CALERIE study. I am learning more every week. I suspect, at the end of the study, I will have lost some weight through behavior modification over time. Most importantly, I will be armed with a wealth of information about foods, diet and the ability to make better educated choices.

The professionals at Pennington Biomedical Research Center are wonderful to work with. It is very impressive to me that Louisiana has such a wonderful facility right here in Baton Rouge. I sense that many people in our city and state, who could benefit greatly, don't know about the in-depth level of internationally recognized nutrition research that is taking place just down the street.