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Nutrition, kids both close to her heart

September 03, 2000

Nutrition, kids both close to her heart



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


Lois Manfull has found the perfect recipe for happiness on the job by teaching nutrition, a subject she loves, to children.

"I love influencing the kids," said Manfull, 45, of Falling Waters, W.Va.

"I'm enthusiastic about food. How and what you eat affects your health, affects your energy, affects how you feel about things," Manfull said.

Manfull works for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service teaching nutrition to hundreds of third-graders in 10 Washington County elementary schools with higher percentages of low-income students.

She teaches them about the five food groups in the food pyramid, how the digestive system works, using a stove, washing hands, brushing teeth, flossing, and fighting bacteria by eating the right foods.

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Manfull also teaches them about smoking and the risks of cancer, using a two-liter soda bottle filled with cotton balls that are dirty from the smoke of only 10 cigarettes. The cotton balls represent lungs.

Manfull practices what she preaches.

Besides eating healthy, she walks two miles a day, takes vitamins, drinks plenty of water and does yoga with her 5-year-old daughter, Maddasyn.

And at the Manfull house if you don't finish your meal, you can't have a snack later.

To encourage healthy snacks, every year Manfull introduces students to a fruit they may not have tried before or even knew existed. Last year it was kiwi. This year it's jicama.

"I try to make it fun," she said.

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