Despite the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, selling prevention has always been a challenge. Just ask any insurance salesman. On the other hand selling that pound of cure is no problem at all. Just ask any surgeon. When you gotta have it, you gotta have it. You don't even bother to stop and ask how much?
Prevention Yes, But. . .
Now what does this little observation have to do with childhood obesity you ask? Well, if you're selling the preventative edition of childhood obesity, it's almost impossible to get a kid who's currently NOT OBESE to buy in and participate. On the other hand, we all know the time to beat a problem is BEFORE it gets a foothold, and in this case BEFORE obesity starts to erode a child's self esteem, their quality of life, and their overall performance. After all, you get vaccinated BEFORE you get sick, not after.
Going in the Back Door
So for those of us who are advocating a childhood obesity PREVENTION program like Operation Pull Your Own Weight, the question becomes, “"What problem can we address and CURE that simultaneously PREVENTS childhood obesity from occurring, without ever uttering the poisonous terms “obesity or prevention?" My own answer is that all young kids, by virtue of being young, lack strength when compared to adults. You might say that kids always display a little strength-envy when it comes to their older and larger adult counterparts.
Being Cool VS Being Uncool
With that insight in hand, I suggest that helping cure a kid's natural lack of strength is an easy sale to make because “being strong" is always cool, while “being weak" is always uncool. Let me say this in a little different way. In seventeen years of teaching and coaching, I met lots of kids who took pride in “being bad. " But I've never met even one boy or girl who took any pride in “being weak" at anything. Have you?
Strength and Lightness
In this light let's talk about pull ups, an exercise that's always been associated with being strong because such a low percentage of kids (people) can do even one rep. The other characteristic that's always associated with pull ups is “being light. "
Think back when you were in elementary or high school, did you ever see an overweight kid who could do pull ups? On the other hand did you ever see a kid capable of doing pull ups who was not relatively light? I already know your answer because in all my years of teaching and coaching I always noticed that kids who could do pull ups were never much overweight, and kids who were much overweight could never do pull ups.
You've Never Heard This Before
Now I'm going to switch gears and tell you something you've never heard before. By using a height adjustable pull up bar in combination with a technique called leg assisted pull ups (jumping and pulling at the same time), almost any kid can learn to do pull ups. . . especially if you start them young BEFORE they've had a chance to pick up much excess weight.
OK, now it's time to add all this up logically and see what conclusions we can draw? For starters if its’ true that kids who can do pull ups are never obese, and it's also true that with the right tools almost any kid can learn to do pull ups, then it's logically irrefutable that almost any kid can naturally immunize himself against obesity for a lifetime by simply learning and maintaining the ability to do pull ups for life.
I also want to point out that by helping kids gain strength (be cool) on the pull up bar, you're naturally and simultaneously preventing obesity without ever mentioning the words prevention or obesity. Sound familiar?
Curing the Prevention Dilemma
The moral of the story is that when it comes to childhood obesity, forget the prevention and opt for the strength gaining cure. The kids will think you're cool and you'll be undermining obesity at the same time. An easier sale would be hard to imagine.
Rick Osbourne is a Chicago based writer who currently serves as Executive Director of Operation Pull Your Own Weight, an informational web site that's dedicated to naturally immunizing kids against obesity for a lifetime without pills, shots, or special diets. If you're interested in childhood and obesity, then check out http://www.pullyourownweight.net any time. Osbourne is also a public speaker, and he's recently published a book entitled “Operation Pull Your Own Weight: A Radically Simple Solution to Childhood Obesity, " (on the web site) that provides practical minded parents and educators with a simple, functional, affordable, and infinitely measurable antidote to childhood obesity. Osbourne can be reached by email at Osbourne. email@example.com