Jefferson and Orleans Parish takes aim at diabetes with prevention programs

July 25, 2017
by Earl Hodges

Jennifer Ford tipped the scale at 400 pounds in 2009. She was drinking five 20-ounce soft drinks a day and wanted to make change in her life. She tried to do a spin class at her local gym and couldn't participate. Now, she weighs 178 pounds and has become a YMCA diabetes prevention coach and fitness specialist. Ford, 39, enthusiastically shares her story with anyone who is willing to listen. "Every day I feel like a new person," Ford said. "It's like I have a new body." Ford, from Algiers, shared some of her tale July 24 at the East Jefferson YMCA, 6691 Riverside Drive, Metairie. Ford was among the featured speakers at a program where the Humana Foundation presented a $60,000 grant to the YMCA of Greater New Orleans diabetes prevention program. Other speakers included YMCA leaders, Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni, and Humana Foundation representatives. "I jokingly made a bet with a friend that I could lose 10 pounds," Ford said. "To lose those 10 pounds and win the bet I went to a gym to participate in a spin class. But because of my size I couldn't even do the class."

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