This article details how martial arts training can prevent and alleviate childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed in recent decades. It’s now a major health concern in many parts of the world. Millions of concerned parents have turned to martial arts for a safe, effective way to help their children get and keep body mass under control. Physical fitness in a structured, year-round activity helps prevent or cure serious health problems like Type 2 Diabetes and other costly, limiting, and painful conditions.

A toned, flexible body resists injury and recovers from sickness or damage much faster. A healthy physique leads to greater self-esteem and confidence. The opposite is true for those who are overweight or obese. And though it’s both unfair and unfortunate, obese children and adults often face discrimination that limits their social and career opportunities.

Martial Arts versus Childhood Obesity

Karate is fitness and self-defense training that benefits body, mind, and spirit. Martial arts can be performed by all ages, abilities, and fitness levels. By enrolling at a young age, positive eating and exercise habits can be developed to last a lifetime. Martial arts provide exercise – coupled with life skill lessons and expert guidance – that is known to prevent or resolve problems associated with childhood obesity.

In our society, tasty but unhealthy foods are both affordable and widely available. High fat, sugar, and sodium content in fast foods and snack foods contribute to poor diets. Sedentary activities like playing video games, browsing the Internet, and watching movies dominate as entertainment for young people. These factors play a “super size” role in the public health crisis of childhood obesity.


When parents join their children in karate class, they both benefit in several ways. The active routine provides “quality time” that they don’t get at home or in sports where one party is just a spectator. Children often see their parents in a new light. They are more open to discussions about values and virtues. Parents get to model the actions and attitudes they want their children to have. This makes a powerful impression on a child’s developing persona, much better than lectures alone. There is a special joy that comes from sharing trials with family members, in addition to the mental, physical, and emotional health rewards earned in the martial arts.

The old saying that “the family that kicks together sticks together” is true in many cases. That’s because of the unique fellowship students enjoy while training, competing, and growing in knowledge and skill together. Family members learn to encourage and rely on each other. This builds loyalty, respect, and gratitude.

By working together in a social setting like karate class, good relationships with other individuals are made easier to create and maintain. Families in karate often become friends with other karate families. This opens the door to positive, lasting relationships that improve the quality of life for everyone involved.

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