Sumter Co. (WLTX) -- Residents of Sumter County are on the move with a research project from USC.
"Girl, I'm a size six," says Michelle Davis-Parker, a participant with Sumter County On The Move (SCOTM!).
Sumter County residents are walking the weight off. USC's Prevention Research Center and Sumter County Active Lifestyles are teaming up for SCOTM!
"The mission of the reasearch is to increase physical activity within Sumter County and with Sumter County residents. And also to look at how support systems, or otherwise known as the buddy system, how that helps," says Lili Stoisor-Olsson, SCOTM! project coordinator.
The research projct is being funded by the CDC. And for good reason. South Carolina's obesity rate is the 8th highest in the nation. And with obesity comes health problems.
"Sumter County residents suffer from high bloode pressure issues, heart issues, diabetes -- Type II diabetes, and other chronic diseases due to inactivity," Stoisor-Olsonn said.
The program started in January and membership is increasing. Most participants are seeing results.
"I've lost about 10 pounds in the last four or five months. Kept it off. Along with changing my diet," said SCOTM! participant, Gregory Miller.
And the buddy system holds participants accountable for walking.
"You have partners that will call you and say 'Did you walk today,'" said Davis-Parker.
Even with the program having positive effects on their health, it's their slimmer frames that have participants recommending SCOTM!
"When they look at me and say, 'Oh, Michelle you look good,' I say, 'You got to join this program,'" Davis-Parker said.