Wrestling is a Safe, Calorie-Burning Exercise for Children in Mexico

Mexico City’s Public Education Secretariat recently signed an agreement with the Federal District Wrestling Commission to promote wrestling as a way for children to lose weight.

In response, I have heard both support for the measure and concern. Some question Mexico City’s decision to support wrestling - of all sports - because of its violent reputation.

I, for one, applaud the move.

First and foremost, physical exercise can only be beneficial for children in most cases. Mexico, as a country, has the highest childhood obesity rate in the world, so I’m all for any effort to get these kids up and moving.

I would also like to say that though we typically have this image of wrestling as a violent, sometimes brutal sport, that’s simply not the case.

Sure, on television you’re likely to see people getting flung against the ropes and hit over the head with chairs, but amateur wrestling conducted under proper guidelines – which is what I’m certain the schools are supporting – is a whole different story.

There are no ropes or chairs or other flashy, unrealistic maneuvers performed purely for entertainment value. It’s just two kids, using learned techniques to try to pin each other down to a mat.

As with any contact sport, of course, it’s important to require the use of proper safety equipment. In football, you have pads; in baseball, gloves; and in wrestling, you need to have headgear, properly fitted shoes and kneepads, among other things.

But as long as kids have all the proper equipment, and the supervision of adults to make sure they are following the rules, I don’t see why wrestling should be more cause for concern than any other contact sport.

From my viewpoint, the Public Education Secretariat is being responsible and proactive by promoting wrestling to fight Mexico’s obesity epidemic. Not only is it a safe, calorie-burning exercise, it is also an incredibly popular sport in Mexico and likely to appeal to all the kids who grow up watching it on television.

As far as I’m concerned, the more support there is from the government in the fight against obesity, the better.

Dr. Manny Alvarez is a Cuban-American OB-GYN who serves as a senior medical contributor for the Fox News Channel and senior managing health editor of FOXNews.com. To read more from Dr. Manny, go to askdrmanny.com.