Why some dieters succeed and others don’t

When the winners are the losers – lost pounds, lost inches – what do you call those who don’t lose anything much at all? asked Toronto Star columnist Judy Gerstel May 7. Cue Gordon Flett, Canada Research Chair in Personality and Health at York University. Gerstel asked him why some people slip easily into the action stage while others never manage to move ahead from “kind of ready but kind of not.” When there’s a focus on change, people have a pretty clear idea of whether it’s going to work for them or not, based on past history, he replied.

Flett said that personality factors figure into whether people can make changes in their lives. He summed it up this way: It’s hard to get motivated if there’s no achievable reward, whether it’s looking better in a bathing suit or experiencing less arthritic pain and better mobility. “People are hedonistic,” explained Flett. “They have to get pleasure in terms of feeling better. If there’s not some rewarding consequence along the way, it’s likely not going to work….People need to find a way to start out small and find a rewarding aspect to it, whether it’s positive attention or feeling better.”

Casting call for NHL hopefuls

Coming to CBC in September is Making the Cut, hockey’s version of reality television. At stake are six spots at NHL training camps in 2005, reported the Toronto Star May 7. Making the Cut is expected to be one of the most expensive productions in Canadian TV history and could be one of the most popular – organizers expect about 12,000 players to come to tryouts in seven Canadian cities over the next six weeks, including a three-day event May 28-30 at the Ice Gardens at York University.

Couples who share chores may have more kids

The more a man helps out at home, the greater the likelihood a working couple will have a second child, sociologists at Brown University have discovered, reported the Toronto Star May 7. Professor Louise Ripley, who teaches marketing and women’s studies at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, commented that working mothers have school and child care for their kids while they are at work but “the problem is when you go home. The imbalance in housework is age-old, said Ripley. “[Men] do not realize they are not pulling their weight. If he does a number of things for the baby, he thinks he is doing enough.”

Changing governance, defining CFO role key to restoring confidence

Two stories featured York University experts in a Globe and Mail update on corporate governance May 7.

In one, about how companies – both public and private – have been proactively reviewing the actions and structures of their own governance frameworks, the newspaper looked to Richard Leblanc, a certified management consultant and contract faculty at York University’s Schulich School of Business. He is a world leader in measuring a board’s effectiveness based on the behaviour of the board and the individual directors. For his recently completed doctoral PhD dissertation, Leblanc spent five years studying corporate governance from inside the boardrooms of 39 large Canadian organizations and interviewing almost 200 senior directors. “It’s only from inside the boardroom that one can measure the effectiveness of a board of directors,” Leblanc said. “For that reason, it is time to introduce some rigour into how boards are selected, how they are run and what they do.”

The Ontario Securities Commission relied on Leblanc and his research when putting together its proposed new guidelines for corporate governance, Multilateral Policy 58-201: Effective Corporate Governance, said the Globe. These proposals outline the best practices for board composition, mandate, position descriptions, orientation and continuing education of directors, a code of business conduct and ethics, nomination of directors, compensation and regular board assessments. “The key to unlocking shareholder value is the strategic role played by the directors, and that’s a direct function of the competency and skills of individual directors, how they work together as a team and, in particular, the leadership skills of the chairman,” Leblanc said.

In another story, about the vital role of chief financial officers to corporate performance, the Globe interviewed Dezsö J. Horváth, dean of York’s Schulich School of Business. Sustainable management at public companies requires a strategic timeline of years rather than quarters, necessitating an expansion of the critical set of functions for CFOs, according to Horváth. “The ranking of CFOs is increasingly important,” he said. “While their day-to-day responsibility for transparent accounting has surged in the public concern with recent scandals of corporate malfeasance, CFOs must also play pivotal roles in realizing long-term goals.”

“CFOs are playing a very significant role in the development of international standards,” Horváth said recently. “The skill and speed with which they are able to do so will have a very major impact on world trade in the years ahead.”

Why there’s a doctor shortage

A new study has added to the growing clamour of warnings about Canada’s doctor shortage, suggesting this country would need another 25,500 physicians to match the world’s best-served nation, reported the National Post May 7. The shortage came about because medical school enrolments were wrongly cut back in the past, and foreign-trained physicians face too many barriers to practising here, said Daniel Drache, a political scientist at York University and author of the 1999 book Health Reform: Public Success, Private Failure.

York conducts drinking and driving survey

About three per cent of Kingston-area motorists admit to driving while under the influence of alcohol, according to a new report published by the district health unit, reported the Kingston Whig-Standard May 7. The report is compiled from results of a telephone survey, conducted by York University’s Institute for Social Research, that measures people’s attitudes, perceptions and practices related to a variety of topics, including drinking and driving.

On air

  • The union representing contract faculty at York University (CUPE 3903) is paying the rent for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, reported CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” May 6.