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Seniors learn about nutrition through Cornell Extension

It is never too late to learn something new.

That was the message that a group of 11 seniors at the Notre Dame Housing independent Senior Citizen Housing, located at located at 660 E. 183rd Street, proved to their children and grandchildren as they completed a six-week course on nutrition and fitness through Cornell University Cooperative Extension recently.

The free course covered the topics of menu planning, food budgeting, shopping, preparation of meals, food safety and fitness, while showing the seniors who voluntarily took the class how read food labels, make complete shopping lists, and substitute foods like butter that may be high in fat and cholesterol with alternatives.

“We help them make healthier nutrition choices and help them become more physically active,” said Sandra Gruesso, the coordinator of Cornell Cooperative Extension Program for the Bronx and Manhattan. “We are different than other programs because we are hands on, and while we give them information, we also understand that in order to learn we need to be with them to help them prepare a meal or work on physical activities.”

After completing the program, the graduates received certificates of achievement and appreciation.

Those who completed the program at Notre Dame are Olga Martinez Arroyo, Adelaida Ramos, Dusanka Nikac, Marisa DiMaggio, Lena Franko, Philomena Sporeyez, Judith Borrelli Tropea, Octavio Fanelli, Maria Eiras, Eva Marano, and Margaret Laing.

The course is also given at several other senior centers and residences throughout Fordham, Belmont, and West Farms, and throughout the city, said Notre Dame services coordinator Charlotte Fazio.

“It is certainly useful to learn at my age,” Philomena Sporeyez said. “Nowadays, you need to continue to learn about nutrition because you have to read labels on food.”

One of the most helpful parts of the program was that it showed seniors how to prepare meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner while remaining conscious about reducing salt and sugar, Laing said.

“If they offer more courses at our senior housing, I would certainly take them,” Laing said.

Learning at a mature age sets a good example for family members, Sporeyez said.

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