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franklin county times
PHOTO BY ALISON JAMES Lakita Page is the newest face in the Franklin County Extension office, bringing a focus on healthy lifestyle as the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program educator.

Extension amplifies nutrition focus with new hire

Lakita Page was majoring in nursing at the University of North Alabama when she got the opportunity to work as an intern with the Lauderdale County Extension Service. She quickly became fascinated by the work she took on during her time there helping with nutrition-based programming. She retooled her degree and career focus and in December 2016 graduated from UNA with a degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation, with a concentration in Health Promotion – which ultimately led her to the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program educator role with the Franklin County Extension.

Page has been with the Extension since April and will reach out to the community by teaching “limited resource youth and adults how to improve their dietary practices and become more effective managers of their available resources.”

Page, a 2008 Muscle Shoals High School graduate, will administer a variety of youth-targeted and adult-targeted programs, covering topics from exercise and active lifestyle to making healthy nutrition choices, in addition to food safety practices. Adult programs range from Eating Smart Being Active, which includes recipe/tasting experiences, to Today’s Mom, which caters to moms-to-be with materials to ensure the nutritional wellbeing of both mommy and baby.

Children will benefit from Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) programs that will cater to youth across different age ranges, with the Jump Into Health program for kindergarteners, Taking Off for fourth grade and CATCH Kids Club for fifth through eighth grade.

“I just love educating people about nutrition,” Page said. “Some people today are on the fast track and making unhealthy choices, going through the drive-thru and getting fast food … It seems like obesity is a huge problem, and I feel like educating people as to what they can to do become healthier will help them change their mindset so they can be smarter about what they choose eat and drink and be more active to be healthier.”

The EFNEP has been in place since 1964, sharing information about healthy meals and snacks, positive exercise and wellness options and advice on grocery budgeting and effective use of food stamps.

Page is currently in the process of coordinating with schools in Franklin County in attempt to partner and provide programs for Franklin County youth.