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As the second month of 2018 winds down, many of us are aggravated with ourselves for not sticking to our New Year's resolutions to eat healthier, exercise and lose weight. 

One group of Orangeburg residents, however, were on track to reach those goals after attending their second week of the intensive 16-week Diabetes Prevention Class at the Regional Medical Center's HealthPlex in Orangeburg. The program kicked off on Jan. 23.

Sixteen adults diagnosed as being pre-diabetic showed up Feb. 6 to work with program coordinator and instructor Wayne Hutto and instructor Amy Metts in the yoga room at HealthPlex. The classes run about 45 minutes to an hour, and the focus is on getting fit.

Hutto and Metts asked the participants to get up from their chairs and do an arm exercise for a few minutes to get the blood flowing through their bodies.

"Lift your arms up and fly like a bird," Metts called out, cheering them on.

Hutto told the participants, "We want you to watch less TV, eat smaller meal portions and to not make excuses."

He asked each of them to name one activity they did during the week to get their heart rates up.

"This would not include washing clothes and dishes. Did you do anything like Zumba, Pilates, yard work?" he asked. 

Some said they rode a bike and others said they walked for 30 minutes to a couple of hours each day. 

Hutto noted, "Participants who follow the program will normally see a weight loss and, hopefully, a reduction in medications they're taking."

Class members are provided with food and activity trackers to help them keep up with their calorie intake and the amount of exercise they're getting. They also receive the "Dash for Good Health" southern-style recipe book.

A two-hour class on Feb. 20 focused on healthy meal preparation. A dietitian with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control showed participants how to prepare a healthy meal.

Exercise is also emphasized. Metts said those in the Diabetes Prevention Program have access to the gym at HealthPlex.

"They can use the gym if they become members. The cost for a single person is $36, and the cost for a family is $54. The hours of use are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily," she said.

Class member Jerry Keitt of Orangeburg said he hopes to make positive lifestyle changes.

"I joined this program to learn to eat better and to interact with other people reaching for the same goal as me," he said, adding that his doctor suggested he get active and join a gym.

Brookdale Elementary Principal Dr. Sharon Hampton said she joined the program to prevent developing diabetes.

"This class brings forth awareness as it puts our attention on not getting diabetes. I am not a diabetic but also do not want to get diabetes," she said. 

"Over the course of time, we will learn how to read food item labels, lose weight, learn how to cook properly, what foods we should avoid," she added. "I am excited to see how we change and grow. I am glad to be a part of this group."

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Contact the writer: shakora.purple@gmail.com.

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