A Childhood Obesity Prevention Solution That’s as Plain as the Nose on My Face

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**

A column by Rick Osbourne

I contend that my nose is located on my face. There have never been any statistics or scientific data wrapped around this intuitively obvious fact. But my 60 some years of life experience has led me to that conclusion and I’ve never been inclined to question it. And until someone makes it their business to prove me wrong I will continue to accept this as an empirically provable (i.e. accessible to the senses) fact that requires no debate.

Pull Ups VS Obesity
In a similar sense, and speaking as a former Physical Educator/coach (17 years-worth) I’ve never seen an obese kid who could perform even one conventional, unassisted pull up. On the other hand, any kid who could perform at least one pull up was always relatively strong and light.

In other words, for all practical purposes kids who could do pull ups were never obese. Furthermore, I’ve discussed this matter with thousands of colleagues as well as lay people and none of them has ever actually seen an obese kid who could do pull ups. It’s kind of like hunting for Nessie or Big Foot. There have been rumors, but to date no actual sightings.

One possibility (the ability to do a pull up) simply excludes the other (obesity). My 60 some years of experience has also led me to that conclusion. And like the nose on my face, until someone makes it their business to prove me wrong, I, along with everyone else that I know, will continue to accept this as an empirically provable fact that requires no debate.

The Earth was Flat Argument
But then my friends in the “scientific community” are quick to point out that there was a time when the flat Earth theory was a conventionally accepted fact. That was before scientists came to the rescue to set the record straight. In other words, the intuitively obvious is not always true.

And on this point I agree 100% with my empirically data driven friends. The intuitively obvious is not always true. That’s been proven over and over again by science. On the other hand, whether discussing the nose on my face or the earth being flat, the intuitively obvious has always been given the benefit of the doubt, and has been accepted as fact until some scientist comes along and proves it to be otherwise.

The Burden of Proof is on Them, Not…
With all that said, I’m perfectly open to the possibility that my intuition could be dead wrong when it comes to the relationship between pull ups and obesity. But the burden of proof falls on those who contend that it’s false, and not on those of us whose life experiences collectively support the intuitively obvious experience that says the ability to perform at least one pull up excludes the possibility of the performer being obese.

Until that burden of proof is met, I’ll continue to contend (along with all my friends) that kids (and all human beings) who can do even one unassisted pull up are ALMOST NEVER OBESE. Furthermore, I’ll contend that this claim is an empirically solid, scientific fact, every bit as obvious and provable as my nose being on my face.

I Hereby Challenge the Experts…
In conclusion, I’d like to take this opportunity to CHALLENGE the scientific community (including the US Center for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Association of Pediatrics, the Food and Drug Administration, SHAPE AMERICA, along with scientists and experts from higher institutions of learning such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and the University of Chicago, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Michelle Obama, and ANONE ELSE who’s legitimately interested in resolving the childhood obesity epidemic that’s been undermining our kids for so long now) to DISPROVE this intuitively obvious relationship. And while you’re at it, PROVE that BMI means anything to anybody when it comes to improving body composition…the one thing that must improve if we’re to turn the tide and make any progress on obesity.

P.S. For the scientific community members who claim to be data driven and who insist on statistics before you buy into the intuitively obvious, please have a look at the 492 student study which overwhelmingly confirms the claim that kids who can do at least one pull up are ALMOST NEVER OBESE! If you’re really interested, I suggest you check it out.

Rick Osbourne is former physical educator and a pioneer in the field of functional childhood obesity prevention. He currently serves as President of the Pull Your Own Weight Foundation which is an Illinois based, 501c3, not for profit organization whose focus is functional childhood obesity prevention. He’s written and published three books in this field, the latest of which is entitled Beating Childhood Obesity Now: A Simple Solution for Parents and Educators. He’s the Examiner’s national childhood obesity prevention correspondent. He writes an online column for The Edvocate. And you can connect with Rick via Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook.

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