Einstein’s formula and childhood obesity prevention

**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

E = MC2 is probably the world’s most famous formula. With it, innovator, scientist, physicist, mathematician, and overall genius Albert Einstein took a plethora of factors into consideration and boiled them all down into his famous formula which turned out to be the key to calculating how much stored up energy is in any given volume of matter.

In other words Einstein took many different factors into account, consolidated and simplified them down in a formula that could be used to create nuclear plants that power the future, and (much to his dismay) nuclear weapons that could destroy it. His genius was found in his ability to organize, relate, consolidate, boil down, and simplify disparate pieces of a large and complex puzzle, and to transform all that information into a usable tool for the benefit of mankind.

Keep it Simple Stupid

The same could be said of other great innovators from Gutenberg who invented the printing press, to Whitney who invented the cotton gin, Thomas Edison who invented electricity, Bell who invented the telephone, to Gates and Jobs who invented the modern world of computers. Each of them took a multiplicity of yet to be organized ideas, pulled them together, tested and retested them in various combinations in order to validate their predictability. Then they expressed their findings in relatively simple and user friendly terms.

While the FORE Score Protocol is certainly no E =MC2, it still represents a simplification of the complex, confusing, and often frustrating problem of childhood obesity prevention. On the other hand, it addresses America’s Number One Health Threat (according to the US Surgeon General) so we’re not dealing with chopped liver either.

Let Me Count the Ways

Now then, how many variables are we dealing with? For starters, it’s calories in VS calories out, eating less/better and exercising more. Then you factor in the modern day fast food diet that’s exacerbated by working moms who lack the time to cook for their kids and opt for McMeals instead. Throw in the TV, the video games, the computer, and cell phone that all conspire to make sure 21st century kids are physically less and less active. Add to this list the constant advertising and propaganda that brainwashes kids into wanting sugary foods, the lack of daily physical education in school, the genetics and the economics that all play a role, and you’ll see how things can get real complicated real fast.

Let’s Simplify

In contrast, OPYOW makes one simple observation. Kids who can do pull ups are ALMOST NEVER OBESE. Therefore, as kids learn to physically pull their own weight, they learn to actively eliminate obesity from their own lives. In the process they learn to take responsibility for themselves in a world that so often systematically discourages self-determination and self-respect.

In other words, despite the fast food, the TV, video games and computer, the advertising, lack of PE, the genetics and the economics, show me ten kids who can do even one pull up and I’ll show you ten kids who are not obese! That’s not to say what these kids eat, or how much they exercise plays no role. It’s not to say that these infinitely researched parts of the childhood obesity puzzle play no role. They do play a role in everything, including the ability to do pull ups!

Actionable Solutions VS Hand Wringing

On the other hand, if we can simplify all this down into whether or not kids can do pull ups, I contend that we’ll have an obvious piece of knowledge around which to rally the childhood obesity prevention troops. We’ll have a plan on which to take action TODAY, not next week, next month, or next year. It takes us out of the talking phase and throws us into the action phase. And I for one favor getting to the action phase ASAP!

All this infinite talk inhibits progress. We must decide on an action plan and implement it. If we fail to do so the childhood obesity epidemic will continue to grow and to undermine kids around the world. So let’s bring in the fire trucks now before it’s too late!

In the words of Leonardo deaVinci, “Simplification is the ultimate sophistication.”


Rick Osbourne is a 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 TwitterLinkedin, or Facebook.

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