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State Honoree

Heather Dixon

Wyoming

Heather Dixon, 18, of Laramie, Wyo., a senior at Rock River High School in Rock River, helps senior citizens analyze and improve their eating habits, learn about nutrition, and enhance their health overall. After her grandfather developed health problems and entered a nursing home, Heather wondered if better nutrition could have prevented his decline. She decided to use her nutritional knowledge to help senior citizens in her community. “Since senior citizens are such a valuable piece of our society, I wanted to help them in a way that interested me and in an area that I knew a great deal about,” said Heather, whose father is a high school health teacher. For the past five years, Heather has worked with 16 seniors. Each year, she asks them to keep a food diary, and then she uses a computer program to analyze the information and draw conclusions. She gives a copy of her results to each participant, along with general nutritional information. Last year, she also began collecting information on her subjects’ medications and vitamins to see how they might be interacting with their diets. Many of the seniors have switched to healthier diets as a result of Heather’s work.