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New study to shed light on boys’ health and body image


Roger Bernardes, assistant professor in the Schulich School of Education, is studying the health and body image concerns of boys, and especially bigger or overweight boys, through a new research program, Boys in Motion. 

Boys in Motion is a free program for boys age 12-14, offered at the North Bay YMCA. It will run every Tuesday and Thursday for six weeks from June 2 – July 9, from 4 -5:15p.m.

Involving individual and group activities, fun games, and interactive discussions, the program will promote physical activity and positive body image in a supportive environment. The program also includes two brief interviews, at the start and the end of the program. Boys who participate may benefit from an increased appreciation of what they can do, be better able to understand and take advantage of life-long physical activity opportunities, and improve their self-confidence and health.

“Traditional approaches to physical activity typically follow a sports model focused on competition and performance standards that simply are not for everybody,” said Bernardes. “Many boys do not enjoy physical activity when they feel they are being judged.”

“As a physical educator, I’m concerned about how the increased efforts to use physical education as a tool to fight obesity is affecting an already stigmatized group of boys. I hope to shed light on how boys experience and negotiate their sense of self, and find out how the discussions around health and body shape the experiences of overweight boys.”

The Boys in Motion program is part of a University of Toronto research study and is presented with the support of the North Bay YMCA.

Bernardes is the instructor for the Boys In Motion Program. He is currently an assistant professor at Nipissing University and is completing his PhD studies at the University of Toronto. Bernardes is a former Olympic athlete, strength and conditioning and sports coach, and has taught physical and health education at the secondary school and university level for over 25 years. His research interests focus on physical activity, health, and issues of inclusion.

For more information, or to participate in the study, contact Roger Benardes, at rogerb@nipissingu.ca, or 705-474-3450 ext 4485
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