Theme 3: Health Maintenance Or Human Enhancement
This Theme – in two Sessions – aims to increase awareness about the ‘dark side’ of exercise by emphasizing the motivational difference between taking supplements for health or for performance reasons, as well as the perpetual conflict between the goal to be fit and healthy and the goal to have a beautiful and sexually attractive body. The specific questions addressed in the Sessions revolve around why people exercise and whether the healthy body is synonymous with a beautiful body. Learners are encouraged to critically evaluate if PAES use was necessary for maintaining a healthy, fit and active body and how exercise can be self-regulated for achieving the intended health benefits. The Sessions recognise that in sport outside anti-doping regulations, the important divide is why one uses PAES; as opposed to whether it is prohibited or not. The Sessions also draw attention to the fact that people’s mindset about supplementation changes with the reasons for supplementation (health maintenance vs. performance enhancement).
This Theme enhances self-efficacy to make informed, evidence-based and holistic decisions about PAES by prompting learners to reflect on their own exercise/sport participation goals and helping them defining the relative importance of PAES use accordingly; and thus contributes to interactive health literacy. It is expected that upon completion of the Sessions, learners will develop better awareness of the ‘dark side’ of sport and exercise, leading to increased attention to both health and psychological consequences of PAES or stronger refusal/avoidance efficacy beliefs toward harmful substances.