How to Organize a Pull Your Own Weight – Childhood Obesity Prevention Program in Any PE Class

How to Organize a Pull Your Own Weight – Childhood Obesity Prevention Program in Any PE Class

This article presumes its readers understand the basic contention that “kids who can perform pull ups cannot be obese, that kids who are obese can’t perform pull ups, and that teaching kids to be able to perform pull ups immunizes them against obesity as long as they maintain the ability.” Now, if I were still a physical education teacher today, and I wanted to do something significant and measurable to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity in this country, I’d do the following things to help turn the tide.

• I’d start the year off by testing my students in a number of different functional fitness activities, but I’d pay special attention to pull ups.

• I’d divide the students into two groups, those who can do at least one pull up (group X), and those who can’t do any pull ups (group Y).

• I’d then divide the students up into teams of equal size, and each team would be required to have at least one student who can do a pull ups (from group X).

• I’d make the student(s) from group X responsible for helping students from group Y learn to do pull ups, and reward the successes accordingly.

• I’d create at least one (and probably three or four) height adjustable pull up station, and show all students how to use the strategy of leg assisted pull ups, “inching” their way up the chain until they eventually run out of leg assistance and can do regular pull ups.

• I’d also have a Total Gym to help students with extraordinary weight problems to make regular, measurable progress towards regular pull ups.

• I’d introduce a practical context within which kids would understand good nutritional habits, implement and monitor it.

• I’d make sure that everyone from group X knows how to work correctly with their teammates from group Y.

• I’d intentionally stack the deck and build small but regular successes (motivation) into the program for all participants

• I’d make quarterly checks to see what’s happening in each group.

• I’d check out the possibility of having some intra-class, intra-grade, even intra-school competitions, being careful to compare group to group instead of individual student to individual student.

• As far as individual students are concerned, I’d encourage self-competition over competition with other students.

• The first goal is to make sure that all participants make regular, tangible progress over a significant period of time…at least 12 weeks. This will establish a pattern of public success, and internalize the motivation.

• The primary, long term goal of course would be to significantly increase the percentage of students who are members of group X from quarter to quarter, semester to semester, year to year.

• I’d generate regular press releases (on school letterhead) so the local media could be kept updated and would report regularly on how we’re attacking childhood obesity in our school.

• I’d build a PYOW web-site so that the computerized generation can check out all kinds of related things whenever they’re on line.

• I’d involve the private sector, many of whom are anxious to be identified with, even sponsor public educational success in a variety of ways.

• I’d organize an annual Pull Up A Thon between schools to help raise funds to benefit a worthwhile, local charity.

• I’d try to track all kinds of related behaviors, including academic success.

• I’d make it a privilege to participate. Forcing participation turns pull ups into a job and effectively reduces its value to students.

• I’d take advantage of the fact that all students want to be strong, not weak, and I’d cultivate a mentality favoring strength and independence over weakness and dependence.

• I’d tell other physical educators about this program and encourage them to develop programs of their own for their own students.

• I’d find companies in the area who’d like to sponsor PYOW employee wellness programs, and have students explain and design their program.

• I’d find police and fire departments who’d like to participate and have students explain and design their program.

• I’d find educators in schools who’d like to participate and have students explain and design their program.

• I’d find parents who’d like to participate and have students design their PYOW program.

• I’d go to city hall and recruit politicians who’d like to participate, etc.

• I’d go to park districts, Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs, YM/WCA’s, Health Clubs, Pre-Schools, and churches, to find out who else in the community would like to be able to physically Pull Their Own Weight, then encourage the students to help them do so.

• I’d encourage students to take pride in their peer’s, (and generally in other people’s) success.

• And I’ll add more things to do when and if they come to me.

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