1 in 9 children (aged 2–14 years) are considered clinically obese in New Zealand. Learning healthy eating habits and engaging in enjoyable physical activities can counteract hereditary and metabolic tendencies.
What causes childhood obesity?
Learning healthy eating habits is the first key to a lifetime of physical wellbeing. The average teenager eats fat-and-calorie-laden fast food at least twice a week, while only three of ten high school students report eating green vegetables nearly every day or more often.
The second key to a healthy life is frequent aerobic exercise. By converting at least half of a child’s sedentary time (watching TV, playing video games, working on a PC) into daily, fun physical activities, the obesity epidemic can be greatly reduced.
How martial arts can help
One of the strategies experts recommend for reducing childhood obesity (in addition to serving sensible, healthy meals) is to increase daily physical activity. Taking martial arts classes is a great way to do this because with martial arts, the activities don’t feel like chores or laborious exercises. They’re all fun!
As children learn new martial arts skills – how to focus, how to think and act responsibly, how to think like, and evolve into, a life-long champion – they develop an awareness of themselves and others that fosters respect and a sense of independent accomplishment that is hard to match in any other way. With the martial arts belt system students remain motivated, encouraged, and positive because they’re always moving forward in measurable and emotionally satisfying ways.
For parents there is very little more satisfying than watching their beaming martial arts student achieve physical dexterity and a passion for daily activity that’s certain to promote a future bright with promise.
Why is fighting childhood obesity so important?
Increasing numbers of youngsters are developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, trouble with bones and joints, sleep disorders, and other weight-related issues that were formerly seen only in adults. Should this trend continue, our own children may become the first generation of Kiwis to have shorter life spans than their parents!
Obesity is also detrimental to the human spirit. Overweight and obese children often suffer from bullying and teasing by similar-age classmates, causing many to develop low self-esteem and depression.
At Okinawa te Karate, children learn skills and lessons that benefit them for the rest of their lives. By encouraging discipline of mind and body, martial arts go a long way toward providing children with esteem for their own bodies, respect for others, and a passion for achieving excellence in all they choose to pursue.
*excerpts from urbandojo.com