Volume 94, Issue 46
Tuesday, November 21, 2000
Female interest dominates ATTAC
Assistant Program co-ordinators Dana Pecjak, Christine Tretter, Allsa Raphael and Tracy Atkins get ready to get active this week.
By Jessica Leeder
It's sort of like a Sandie Hawkins dance, but without the dance.
With the start of the ATTAC life program at University Drive residences this week, one thing is for sure: female residents in all three buildings have been much quicker than their male counterparts to reap the benefits the program offers.
ATTAC Life is a program attempting to cultivate Western residents' interest in healthier lifestyles by incorporating more physical activity into daily lifestyle. The program operates as a sort of buddy-system, so participants can make a commitment to both themselves and others to support and motivate each other while engaging in a change of pace.
The pilot of the program was done last year by founder Dave Sit at Alumni House, where female interest and response to the idea was phenomenal. "The results from the pilot showed a definite female interest," Sit said. "The program is not necessarily geared towards women, but judging from the pilot, women will benefit more from the program if they have an interest in furthering social skills, leadership, or health and wellness."
Jen Irwin, a faculty member of the health sciences department said she saw no harm in females infiltrating the program. "Ideally the people they want to have as their volunteers are a sample of who they want to help." Irwin said the majority of students in her Health Sciences Promotion course are female.
Liz McHugh, public health nurse for the London Middlesex Heath Unit said there are dangers of females using this sort of program for the wrong reasons and not getting the results they desire.
"Women are subject to not necessarily more stress than men, but different kinds of stress. The body image component tends to hit females more than males because historically, we've been conditioned to think that how we look means more."
McHugh said she feared some women may join the program with unrealistic expectations of weight loss, to achieve a notion of what they perceive to be the ideal body image.
"The media more than anything else is starting to show females working out more so than ever, despite the fact that females have always worked out. If women are going into the program solely for weight loss purposes, they may only be dumping more stress on themselves. Overexerting the body to attain this sort of goal is putting a lot of extra physical and psychological duress on the body. The pressures of academic studies, the dating scene, safety issues all adds up and creates different stresses than those experienced by males."
Sit said his initial intentions for the program were to get away from the idea that being healthy meant having to go to a gym.
"It is important to note that the program is not only focused on fitness. Participants are learning that you don't need an intense workout to be healthyyou can concentrate on developing physical, spiritual and mental components of a healthy lifestyle."
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