In his article entitled “World’s Stupidest Childhood Obesity Intervention Plan” Weighty Matters blogger and bariatric surgeon Dr. Yoni Freedhoff proves his allegiance to profit over prevention by mocking an utterly simple and valid solution to childhood obesity prevention and rehab.
That is to say, you don’t have to be a professor, a surgeon, an exercise physiologist, or a physical education teacher to know that people who can physically pull their own weight (do at least one conventional pull up) are ALMOST NEVER OBESE. I ask anyone out there in the blogosphere, have you ever seen Nessie, Big Foot, or an obese human being who can do pull ups? Yes, I know there have been rumors. But actual proof? None that I know of.
Need scientific proof? How about the following study? 492 second, third and fourth graders, all of whom could do at least one conventional pull up, were tested for their Body Mass Index (BMI). Of the 492 students, 202 were girls and 290 were boys.
According to the results, NONE OF THE 202 GIRLS WERE OBESE! A full 92% fell into the normal weight range (25 or less BMI). 8% fell into the overweight range (between 25 and 30 BMI) and carried just a little excess body weight. But the odds of girls falling into the normal weight range were better than 90%. And I repeat, NONE were obese!
So what about the boys? In this study 85% fell into the normal weight category, 13% fell into the overweight category, while 2% fell into the obese category. This is just another way of saying that 98% of the boys were PROVABLY NOT OBESE! 13% carried a little excess body weight.
As for the 2% who were labeled obese, my bet is that they were the linebackers of the group who had bigger bones and carried more muscle mass than normal kids. In other words, these boys were victims of BMI’s well-known inability to distinguish between body fat and muscle mass.
And finally, consider the following endorsement. The American Society of Exercise Physiologists describes this functional strategy as “A simple, easily implemented, easily documented, and affordable solution to the childhood obesity epidemic.”
All that said, despite Dr. Weighty Matters’ opinion (everybody has one right?), if you or your kids can perform even one conventional pull up, the odds are OVERWHELMING that YOU ARE NOT OBESE! You are not carrying 30% body fat. Obesity and the ability to do pull ups are almost never found in the same package. You can take that one to the bank.
In the meantime, Dr. Weighty Matters continues to promote complicated, contrived, and confusing excuses for the obesity epidemic. This in turn allows him to SELL unnecessary, very expensive, yet totally temporary solutions (band-aids) to an epidemic that could easily be prevented by helping kids learn to physically pull their own weight.
Profit is indeed a powerful motive. But in the words of Leonardo De Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”