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Westerly resident offers advice for good health and a healthy marriage

Wherever Westerly resident Ann Hunter goes, there’s a good chance someone will either recognize her face or voice. That’s because Ann taught nutrition classes in person and online for the College of Health Professions at Wichita State University for 45 years and returned as faculty emeritus. She also consulted in her own private practice before retiring in 2015.

“All students with a health-related major had to take nutrition – it’s what they call a ‘feeder class.’ The first couple of years I had no office. I kind of taught out of the trunk of my car. And then things grew very rapidly, and I had offices and teaching assistants and help. The evolution was fun. I could always hope that tomorrow would have something positive happening,” said Ann.

But teaching nutrition wasn’t Ann’s first choice for a career.

“My mom was a nurse and my dad was a dentist. I started college pre-med and had an epiphany one day as I was walking across campus. I thought, ‘I don’t want to always be in an office or at the hospital.’ I wanted to have a family. So, at that point, I switched to child development, which didn’t last long. And then I switched to dietetics. It was my third major that stuck,” said Ann.

Over the years, Ann taught thousands of students, including Courtney Wolfe, executive director of Wichita Presbyterian Manor!

“After doing a presentation here once, Courtney came up afterwards and said she had taken my class. I thought, ‘that explains why I feel like I know you.’ My whole family giggles because I will almost always see someone who recognizes me when I go out,” said Ann.

Ann and her husband John have been married for 65 years and have four children, 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. “I’m very proud of that,” added Ann. Her advice for having a lasting marriage: “Pick a good one to start with and then be flexible.”

When it comes to good nutrition, Ann has more advice to share.

“In my private practice and lessons to students, I made it a point to never recommend reduced food intake without suggesting exercise at the same time. You need to do both to be successful in weight management and good health. My suggestion for good nutritional intake is ‘variety in moderation,’” said Ann.

And there are plenty of exercise options here in our community.

“Take advantage of the exercise opportunities we have – equipment and classes. The social part of the experience is very good because people are healthier with other people rather than sitting at home feeling sorry for themselves. If they have a little bit of will power, the potential for good food choices is good here,” said Ann.

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