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Everyone Already Knows the Answer to Childhood Obesity Prevention

In a talk I gave recently to a group of business owners I opened with the following challenge. “I want you to write a sentence using the following 2 concepts. First, pull ups, and secondly obese kids.” Then I gave everyone one minute to complete the assignment.

I called on a half dozen members of the audience and as you might guess, all came up with some variation of “Obese kids can’t do pull ups.” One said “Obese kids won’t even attempt to do pull ups.” Another said “Pull ups scare obese kids.” But they all knew intuitively that the odds of obese kids doing pull ups were negligible at best.

The point is you don’t have to be a PE Teacher or an Exercise Physiologist to recognize that obesity undermines functional activities such as running, jumping, and climbing. It also undermines a person’s ability to physically pull their own weight – to do pull ups. That is no secret. Everyone already knows it.

What most people fail to recognize however is the logical flip-side of that little piece of common knowledge. When I point out that the odds of kids who CAN DO pull ups being obese are equally negligible, it causes people to stop, scratch their heads, and think about it for a second. Once that’s done, they see that if the first statement is true, then the second statement has to be just as true.

Let’s reiterate this point. If it’s true that obese kids can’t do pull ups, it’s equally true that kids who CAN do pull ups almost never carry much in the way of excess body weight.

The second thing that most people are unaware of is just how easy it is to help kids learn to physically pull their own weight.* Using a set of height adjustable suspension training straps and a technique called leg assisted pull ups (jumping and pulling at the same time) a good 90% of all elementary school age kids can learn to do pull ups in one school year or less – often much less.

And once they’ve learned to physically pull their own weight, maintaining the ability (which requires decent eating/exercise habits and 30 seconds per week) will prevent these young participants from ever having to wrestle with America’s # 1 health threat – obesity - and all the related problems that follow in its wake…for a lifetime. No, it’s not a magic pill or a shot. But it’s the next best thing.

Maintenance requires no equipment, no club membership, and almost no time. Go to the closest tree limb once a week and do at least one pull up. When you do, you’ll know that WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING FROM A NUTRITIONAL AND AN EXERCISE PERSPECTIVE IS ENOUGH TO PREVENT YOU FROM BEING OBESE.

There are no calories to count. No carbs to count. And no diets are required at all, because these young folks are actively PREVENTING obesity from ever taking root in their lives. Yes, prevention works in a way that rehab never will. So, now that you know how to prevent childhood obesity, the question becomes, what are you going to do about it? Actions speak louder than words!

*Most kids also love the process of growing stronger along with their friends. Strong is always cool, while weak is inevitably un-cool. And all kids want to be cool.

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