People with diabetes can learn healthy habits through a four-week LEAD class starting Thursday.

The class will be 10 a.m. Thursdays through Feb. 4 at Muskogee Swim and Fitness. The fitness center is teaming with the Muskogee County's Oklahoma State University Extension to put on the class.

"A lot of times people get that diagnosis and they don't know how to manage it," said Tammy Perry, OSU Extension family and consumer sciences educator. "We encourage them to always have that conversation with their doctor, as well. There are lots of different things in life that influence blood sugar level. We just want to teach them how to manage that and be healthier on a daily basis."

LEAD stands for Live well, Eat well, be Active with Diabetes.

Perry said more than 40 percent of Muskogee County residents are obese.

"A great number of our population is type 1 diabetic," Perry said. "Muskogee has one of the highest rates in the state of Oklahoma." 

The classes will offer a practical way do manage diabetes and blood sugar levels, or A1C.

"We don't look at it from a clinical standpoint," Perry said. "What we do is we take people who are trying to manage diabetes, limit carb intake and try to get to lower that A1C."

Some classes will focus on diet, Perry said. 

"We have plastic food models, and we practice putting those plates together and what they should look like," she said. "We follow portion control. We watch our carb intake, things like that." 

People without diabetes also can benefit, said Swim and Fitness Center Fitness Coordinator Kent Kamp.

"Diet and exercise go hand in hand," Kamp said. "It's how to work your exercise plan and you have to watch what you eat, as well."

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