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Summit Health Wellness Days leaves impression on Franklin County children

May 07, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- "Eeeyew!" was not an unexpected reaction for a roomful of third-graders Tuesday when informed that the lecture they were about to hear on the dangers of tobacco used pig lungs as a demonstration tool.

Shendelle Clapper of Summit Health showed the students a pink, healthy pair of porcine lungs compared to the tar-blackened, shriveled pair from a pig with a pretty bad habit. Using a foot-operated pump, she demonstrated the reduced breathing capacity of lungs exposed to cigarette smoke.

By noon Thursday, all 1,581 third-graders in Franklin County will have had the opportunity to learn about the health risks of tobacco use during the ninth annual Children's Wellness Days sponsored by Summit Health and Susquehanna Bank.

"I thought they were gross," Zowie Sanders of Hooverville Elementary School in Waynesboro, Pa., said of the lungs. Just as bad was "Mr. Dip Lip" a prosthetic device showing the various maladies that can result from the use of smokeless tobacco.

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At Station 7, students learned about safety issues from Tim Ebersole of the Chambersburg Fire Department and Craig Leisher of the Chambersburg Police Department.

"I learned not to pick up guns," Hooverville student Summer Sheeley said.

Students passed through eight stations in the Falling Spring Presbyterian Church Family Life Center, learning the values of exercise, nutrition, anger management and having a positive identity. They also learned what vices to avoid, such as alcohol.

"Don't sit on the couch watching television all day, and eat healthy foods, not all those junk foods," Hooverville student Morgan French said of what she took away from the outing.

Obesity and lack of exercise are the two biggest health issues facing younger children, Summit Health Community Health Coordinator Nickie Fickel said. Eating right and staying active are two messages that parents and schools have to get across to children, she said.

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