Local program promotes prevention of diabetes

By Pamela Brownstein
With the rates of Type II diabetes on the rise nationwide and across South Carolina, Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services decided to take action.
The medical group looked at a program started by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta that focuses on lifestyle changes as the best way to help those who are at-risk. That program was based on a study that showed more than medication, a change in diet and increased exercise significantly reduced the risk of developing diabetes.

The participants of the diabetes prevention program meet weekly at the Port Royal Medical Center with nutritionist Melissa Derricks, at right.

Nutritionist Melissa Derrick trained at the CDC, and began the diabetes prevention program in Beaufort earlier this year. The 16-session meets weekly at the Port Royal Medical Center and participants learn how to eat healthy and to reach a goal of losing 7 percent of their body weight.
Of the six women in the class, almost all of them have reached their goal.
“It’s about becoming educated and learning self control so they can be healthy and live longer,” said Melissa, who is originally from Brazil.
She is a fun, energetic motivator and lifestyle coach — but when it comes to getting healthy, her class knows she means business.
The women write down what they eat, try to exercise 150 minutes per week, and have weekly weigh-ins.
Mattie Simmons said at first she was stubborn about making changes, but now it’s just a part of her lifestyle. “It’s been really helpful and I really think I benefitted from the classes,” she said.
For more information about the program, call 843-986-0900 or email mderrick@bjhcs.org.

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