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The Southland grandmother has been taking part in the Southand YMCA's Jumpstart programme Diabetes for five weeks.

Calvert is one of twelve people enrolled in the 10-week programme that was officially launched at a small ceremony in Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt at Southland YMCA on Monday.

Jumpstart Diabetes Programme provides practical ways and advice for people to self-manage their health alongside the support and care received from health professionals, with exercise plans tailored for individuals and a weekly meeting to help participants.

Calvert was diagnosed with type two diabetes in the early 1990's and has been insulin-dependent for years, taking four injections every day.

Since starting the programme, her insulin dependence and agility had improved. It was a total lifestyle change, she said.

"I was eating differently, now I eat more fruit and veg and i'm doing more exercise."

Her blood pressure had also improved since starting the programme.

Health Navigator New Zealand states that  one in four New Zealanders are pre-diabetic and at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Calvert urged people diagnosed as pre-diabetic to do something about it now.

"It is easier to deal with it now. I didn't listen now I have to live with type two diabetes."

She didn't want anyone to make the same mistake she did.

"I am a person who loves life, but I hate the days I feel bad because of diabetes."

Southland YMCA Recreation and Well Being Manager, Dave Cheyne said diabetes was an epidemic in New Zealand that needed to be addressed sooner rather than later.

The programme was specifically designed for people with diabetes or who were at risk of getting type two diabetes, and it started off slow.

"The last thing we want to do is cause discomfort from exercising. We want people to enjoy the programme."

The next 10 week programme starts on May 1.  Click here for more information or to enroll or refer a patient.