Tuesday 31 July 2012

Childhood Obesity & Diabetes

It may appear unusual to find a blog here,on a martial artists blog site, relating to childhood obesity and its role in the ever increasing incidence of  type 2 diabetes.

However to Wicklow based martial artist Alan Ellis topics such as this are part of his mindful curriculum at his Motivational Martial Arts school. Ellis who is a member of Tom Callo's The 100 group believes that martial arts teachers should pay more than lip service to the ideal's of exercise and good diet.

"When I started out in martial arts some forty years ago, it was unheard of for instructors to talk of healthy diet" remarks Ellis." Unfortunately in many cases that hasn't changed"

Ellis feels that while some martial arts leaders do refer to diet, its only in passing to advertise their lessons.Quotes such as "we teach kids to eat healthily" are sometimes just lip-service.

At his schools throughout Wicklow, Ellis implements programs that address and educate students in various topics, not least that of mindful eating.

" Levels of childhood obesity in Ireland have reached epidemic proportions" states Ellis. These levels are now among the highest in the world , a lack of exercise,unhealthy diet,and socio-economic background all play a significant role in this"

In addressing these alarming statistics Ellis believes that education and example will pave the way for a reversal of these trends.

"If we fail to rectify this problem then society as a whole will suffer" he believes.

In a recent article in the Irish Times Dr  Donal O Shea consultant endocrinologist at St Columcille's Hospital , Loughlinnstown , Dublin echo's his concerns:


While children are constantly bombarded with media advertisements to eat junk food and imbibe endless quantities of fizzy drinks, Ellis believes that those with influence in children's lives should seek to educate young people on healthier and ultimately more enjoyable options.

Martial arts teachers are ideally placed to exert that positive influence, however Ellis encourages parents to question their kids martial arts instructors on the programs available at their schools that address issues such as obesity and diabetes.

" A martial arts teacher has a duty of care to his students while they are on the mats at their training facilities" says Ellis " I believe that the duty of care should extend beyond the mats and into the daily lives of the students"

At his schools healthy mindful eating is a prerequisite to advancement in grade rank. Students are encouraged to follow a program which will evolve as they progress and ultimately make a great difference in their lives. In fact Ellis believes, it may save their lives.

 For more information on programs at Motivational Martial Arts or for advice in any area of martial arts training Alan Ellis may be contacted at 089-4567533 ,email aemartialartist@gmail.com

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