Surveying Physical Educators on Pull Ups and Childhood Obesity Prevention

I confess right up front that the following information represents a totally informal, and unscientific survey. However, as of this past week I’ve finally finished surveying exactly 100 physical education teachers, some by the phone, some in person, and I asked the following six questions.

1. Name

2. School and Location

3. Total Years of Physical Education Teaching Experience

4. The number of obese boys you’ve seen who can do pull ups

5. The number of obese girls you’ve seen who can do pull ups

6. The total number of obese students you’ve seen who can do pull ups

Zero Obese Students Can Do Pull Ups

As it turns out these teachers have an average of 8.8 years of teaching experience under their belt. Which is to say, collectively they have 880 years (8.8 years X 100 teachers) of teaching experience among them. And in those 880 years these 100 physical educators have seen ZERO obese boys, ZERO obese girls, and ZERO OBESE STUDENTS WHO CAN DO PULL UPS. On the flip side, in all of these 880 years of physical education experience EVERY STUDENT who could do pull ups was relatively lean, strong, and NOT OBESE!

Let’s Speculate

Now let’s do a little speculation. Let’s be ultra conservative and estimate that each of these teachers taught 100 students per school year. That means each teacher would have overseen 880 students (100 students X 8.8 years) during this period. And collectively they would have overseen 88,000 (880 students X 100 teachers) students. And out of 88,000 students these 100 teachers had never seen an obese child who could perform even one pull up. That is to say the obese child who can perform at least one pull up is as rare as the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot. They just don’t exist.

Starting Young and Winning the War on Childhood Obesity

The implication of this survey of course is that, if we start early (kindergarten or even pre-school) and help kids across America learn to physically pull their own weight, we can turn the tide on childhood obesity. Yes with this frighteningly simple and cost-effective (ok it’s cheap) solution in hand, we can create an entire generation of students who can physically pull their own weight, and who will have naturally immunized themselves against obesity for life by learning and maintaining the ability to do at least one pull up. My only question is, what are we waiting for?

If other physical educators or coaches around the nation would like to weigh in on this survey, we’d be more than happy to add your contribution to the existing data. You can do so by going to the website listed below and clicking on the Survey Tab.

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