Dennis Thomas, Jr., president and head coach of the nonprofit organization Street Jitsu, teaches kids the value of healthy eating and exercise through the mixed martial arts. Dennis has many years of boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and mixed martial arts training experience.
What inspired you to start working on childhood obesity?
I come from a family with a long history of obesity on both sides. Many of my family members suffer from or have died from obesity related illnesses. I have three children of my own, and I know that it's important to instill a healthy lifestyle into children at an early age. Having children has inspired me to want to help other children prevent obesity.
How are you helping to reverse childhood obesity?
I work with children in my community as early as 4-years-old to teach them about physical fitness and healthy eating habits.
What’s your biggest accomplishment so far in helping reduce childhood obesity?
Many parents of children come up to me every day thanking me for helping their kids get to a healthy weight and for teaching them the value of nutrition.
Who is your role model in your work?
My role model in my work is Jesus Christ. He led by example, living every day of his life helping others. I try and do the same.
What healthy snacks did you enjoy growing up?
Growing up I enjoyed eating fruits, and I practiced boxing to stay in shape.
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