How Martial Arts Helps Combat Childhood Obesity

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at

Combat Child Obesity Blog

Between 16 and 32 percent of American children are considered clinically obese – that is, they weigh at least 10% more than their peers of the same age and height. And while some obesity is genetic or metabolic (a child with an obese parent has a 50% chance of becoming obese for life; a child with two obese parents has an 80% chance), heredity does not automatically “condemn” a child to a lifetime of obesity; 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. According to the Clinton Foundation, the average teenager eats fat-and-calorie-laden fast food at least twice a week, while only three of ten high school seniors report eating green vegetables nearly every day or more often.

The second key to a healthy life is frequent aerobic exercise. But because most elementary schools don’t offer daily physical education classes and less than a quarter of high school students take daily physical education classes, it remains each family’s responsibility to encourage and foster fun, engaging physical activity on a daily basis. 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! Read the full article →

3 Quick and Healthy Dinners Even the Busiest Family Can Handle

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at

The human body is an amazing vehicle, including organs, muscles and many other factors, all working in harmony to keep us perking along with vitality. And we all know how important it is to eat healthy, well-balanced meals. As with any other vehicle, what we feed into our body’s “tank” to keep it moving matters – a lot!

But just because eating healthy is important doesn’t mean we always do it. There are many reasons for this: We’re busy all day – working, learning, studying, playing, interacting, and all the rest. It can be so easy to just stop by a fast food place on the way home or on the way to work, shell out a few dollars, and keep going. Food preparation can seem too time-consuming or too technical, and unless we love to cook, cooking can be a real chore. It’s just often so much easier and quicker to buy what’s available when we’re hungry than it is to take the time to do what’s right.

Especially at dinnertime, it’s so tempting to grab something fast on the way home and then chill out for a while in front of the TV. We’ve worked, played, or studied hard (or all three!) and this is our time to relax and decompress.

The problem with this unwise decision is that when we sit down with a meal in front of the TV, we tend to eat more than we otherwise would. We keep shoveling it in without paying attention to the physical cues that remind us, “Enough.” And then we rarely take appropriate steps to burn off the calories we just ate.

To be sure our bodies are getting the right kind of nutrition to power us through the next day, it’s important that meals revolve around three main food groups: fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Unless you have an underlying, specific medical condition that a nutritionist is helping you resolve, most meals you eat should ideally consist of 50% vegetables, 30% protein and 20% grains. Read the full article →