Pull Your Own Weight: FORE Score and accurate body composition feedback

**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

When it comes to body composition changes there are six possible scenarios including:
1. A person can gain body fat (body comp deteriorates)
2. A person can lose body fat (body comp improves)
3. A person can gain muscle mass (body comp improves)
4. A person can lose muscle mass (body comp deteriorates)
5. A person can replace body fat with muscle mass (body comp improves)
6. A person can replace muscle mass with body fat (body comp deteriorates)

A Huge Problem Created
Of these six scenarios, BMI (Body Mass Index)* is accurate ONLY WHEN MUSCLE MASS REMAINS UNCHANGED. That is to say, because it treats all weight as body fat, BMI is accurate only 33% of the time (scenarios 1 and 2) while it’s INACCURATE 66% of the time (scenarios 3 thru 6). This presents a huge problem for anyone requiring accurate feedback in body composition change, which is all that matters in obesity related issues.**

A Huge Problem Resolved
By contrast, ALL activities in which a participant’s own body weight is the primary resistance factor (including running, jumping, skipping, hopping, climbing, crawling, etc.) accurately reflect changes in body composition through changes in functional performance.

For example, lose body fat, gain muscle mass, or replace body fat with muscle mass (body comp improvements) and your running performance automatically improves. On the other hand, gain body fat, lose muscle mass, or replace muscle mass with body fat (body comp deterioration) and your running performance automatically deteriorates. Mother Nature built us this way.

Pull Ups Qualify
Now, since they use a person’s own body weight as the primary resistance factor, conventional pull ups, as well as modified leg-assisted pull ups accurately reflect changes in body composition through changes in functional performance. Thus when body comp improves, pull up performance improves. When body comp deteriorates, pull up performance deteriorates.

So instead of being accurate 33% of the time, both conventional and leg-assisted pull ups yield accurate body composition feedback 100% of the time making them THREE TIMES AS ACCURATE AS BMI.

Introducing FORE Score
With that said, a new concept called a FORE (Functional Obesity Risk Evaluation) Score uses conventional pull ups as well as leg assisted pull ups in order to give doctors, nurses, educators, and parents a practical and an affordable tool with which to ACCURATELY measure and document changes in body composition. Implementation costs and time are the same as BMI, but as we said previously, the accuracy of a FORE Score is three times better.***

Meaningful and Motivating
It’s also simple enough that even kids understand WHAT they’re doing, WHY they’re doing it, and HOW to generate positive changes in their FORE Score. In other words, an abstract and meaningless BMI score is suddenly made understandable and meaningful when it’s replaced by a FORE Score.

The feedback on body comp changes is also frequent (i.e. weekly), continual (for weeks and months), and tangible, all of which cultivates and encourages motivational momentum, the single most important factor when it comes to childhood obesity prevention and rehabilitation. To learn more about FORE Score check out this link.


*The US Center for Disease Control’s endorsement of BMI is one gigantic roadblock in the ongoing efforts to reduce the obesity epidemic.

** The bureaucrat’s response to BMI’s well known accuracy problem is, “Yes, BMI is invalid for individuals. But for mass measurement purposes, BMI is valid.” The logical reply to that contention is, “If it’s invalid for one individual, how does it suddenly become valid for ten thousand individuals? Doesn’t that just exacerbate an already confusing issue?”

***Let’s also point out that, by refining one’s mechanical technique (practice), functional performance can improve without body comp improving. But this factor only adds to the motivational virtues of this highly practical orientation to obesity prevention and rehab.


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 Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook.



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