In their official 2006 report entitled Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up? The Institute of Medicine stated, “Interventions, however, generally remain fragmented and small-scale. Moreover, the LACK OF SYSTEMATIC MONITORING AND EVALUATION has hindered the development of an evidence base to identify, apply, and disseminate lessons learned and support promising childhood obesity prevention efforts.”
Now since September of 2006 when this report was issued, lots has happened including the launching of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move childhood obesity prevention initiative (2010), Bill Clinton’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation (2006), while billions of dollars have been spent on an infinite number of academic studies, anti obesity programs, initiatives, public service ads, and marketing programs.
Still Fragmented After All These Years…
Everyone it seems has joined in on the fight from the YMCA to the NFL, yet seven years later the Institute of Medicine’s statement back in 2006 still rings true when it comes to the state of childhood obesity prevention here in the USA today. That is to say, seven years later things are still fragmented, small-scale, and we still lack the ability to systematically monitor and evaluate (note for example the ongoing BMI controversy) anything that’s going on with this epidemic.
In contrast we have systematic, evidence based solutions for epidemics like polio, small pox, diphtheria, and measles (etc.). They were implemented decades ago and as the result these epidemics have been brought under control in most developed nations. But for America’s number one health threat we still have nothing that even remotely resembles a systematic, evidence based solution that can be disseminated in order to turn the tide. And without it we’ll continue to lose children by the millions to the obesity plague.
Simple, Systematic, Documentable, and Affordable…
Into this void, we ask that Michelle, Bill, and other influential folks who are legitimately concerned over the problems created by this ongoing epidemic consider a strategy that the American Society of Exercise Physiologists has described as “A simple, easily implemented, easily documented, and affordable solution to childhood obesity.”
Check this out. Obese kids are unable to do lots of things including conventional pull ups. Therefore (regardless of gender, race, or economic circumstances) kids who can do conventional pull ups are almost never obese. Finally, given access to the right information and experiences, most kids can easily be inspired to learn to physically pull their own weight in a predictable amount of time…one school year or less.
The time required to develop this ability is less than two minutes per child each week. The cost of setting the stage in order for kids to learn to do pull ups is negligible. Any school system (YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, or youth program) in the nation can easily afford the time and implementation cost if they want to do it. Actually parents can implement it at home with their own kids on any backyard or playground swing set.
The final point to be made is, if these kids maintain the ability to do pull up (which requires 20-30 seconds per week along with decent eating and exercise habits) they will never wrestle with America’s number one health threat and all the problems that follow in its wake. They will have effectively naturally armed themselves against obesity for life. In the words of Gandhi, “Actions expose priorities.” Let’s Move!