Healthy living summit aims to reduce high diabetes rates in Columbia

Healthy cooking demonstrations were part of the healthy living summit in the Eau Claire neighborhood.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- People in a North Columbia neighborhood attended a healthy living summit Tuesday. Organizers focused the summit on diabetes.

Organizers say the Eau Claire neighborhood has one of the highest diabetes rates in the nation.

The summit is part of Columbia's Bike-a-thon, which is teaching both young and old the importance of eating right and staying fit to prevent diabetes.

The event featured expert advice from the American Diabetes Association, Palmetto Health, Complete Family Health and other wellness advocates.

"Children -- they comprise 25 percent of the number of [people] who have diabetes, and a lot of them are in African American communities," said Brenda Hillman from Youth Emporium, Inc., who helped organize the event. "We wanted to make sure that we started to talk to them early about eating and what happens to food when it hits their bodies."

Another healthy living summit earlier this week targeted teens in Columbia. It provided them with information on food preparation and healthy living to help prevent diabetes and heart disease in the future.