NOTE: This blog post was written originally on February 9th, 2011 – but was revised on May 25, 2012.
After attending a NIRSA (national intramural and recreational sports association) conference last weekend in Indiana, USA, I brought back with me much more than I went there with. Needless to say, I’m so happy that I decided to attend this conference.
I applied to attend on a whim, not knowing anyone else going – but it was organized through UWO and campus recreation so I knew it would be a group of great people ! It ended up being 5 of us students and 2 campus recreation managers. We made the best of the 9 hour drive down with good music and even better snacks, and had lots of time to bond with one another along the way. At the conference, we attended various sessions and had the opportunity to network with other students and coordinators with a passion for campus recreation/ fitness and wellness in general.
One of the sessions that I had the opportunity to attend was about “creating a healthy body image campaign at your school”. It was put on by two of my fellow UWO students and another girl from USA. They pointed out that many girls in North America have a distorted perception of their body, and what they think it should look like. Here are some facts pulled straight off of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty Website…
Today there is more pressure than ever on young
girls and boys to be physically perfect. We see this
reflected in the news all around us. Let’s look at
some worrying facts:
1 in 4 teen girls (12-18) practice
some form of disordered eating.
(Jones et al., 2001, Canadian Medical
• 30% of Ontario girls 10-14 years
old and deemed to be a healthy
weight based on BMI are dieting
to lose weight.
(McVey et al., 2004, CMAJ)
• By grade 6, 1 in 4 girls have been
on a diet.
(Northern Regional HealthBoard, Nova Scotia)
• 13 per cent of girls aged 15-17
have taken part in behaviour such
as compulsive eating, throwing up
or refusing to eat
(“Beyond Stereotypes,” Global study
commissioned by Dove of 3,000 women
I copied and pasted these straight from the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. (http://brandent.vo.msecnd.net/o9/beet01/RBSchoolProgram-e_ver.pdf)
Scary, huh? These, among many other facts are the prime reasons for wanting to bring such a campaign to our school.
Here at UWO, we’re going to start by creating posters to display around the gym (images to follow). We’re also going to implement “Operation Beautiful” (www.operationbeautiful.com) by placing TONS of little sticky notes around the gym. They will be on treadmills, bathroom stalls, mirrors and weight room equipment. The notes will have simple phrases to remind people to embrace their life, appreciate their body, and stay positive even when things aren’t going well. A big event (details of this aren’t finalized yet) will then be held to complete our healthy body campaign.
If we work together and achieve success with this campaign, we will be able to take down the companies that are profiting by telling us our bodies are imperfect (cosmetic industries, plastic surgeons, and diet company’s). I’ll leave you with a few posters that we might try to recreate in our campaign here at UWO.