Back-to-school season is here and it has me reflecting on my own educational career. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by excellent teachers that really helped lay the foundation for the fitness and nutrition habits that I have today, in addition to my chosen career path.

That got me thinking…

Our children spend an enormous amount of time with their teachers. Which means, teachers are in a position to be positive role models with tremendous opportunity to impact their students on a variety of levels including their health.

In my opinion, there are fewer things in life that are as important as our health. When a teacher makes healthy choices – including healthy eating and regular physical activity – they are undoubtedly influencing the health of their students, our children.   

Statistics Canada has reported that there is growing evidence suggesting that Canadian children and youth are making nutrition choices that are not in line with the national food guide. Further research also supports the link between inactive behaviour like television watching or video game playing and less-than-desirable food selections.

Studies conducted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada show that there are clear connections between nutrition and academic performance. For instance, students that maintain a healthy diet have improved memory, creativity and critical thinking skills.

They also note that schools are one of the most ideal settings to establish and promote healthy behaviours. Educational environments have a multitude of resources available like food policies (healthy school meals, snacks and guidelines for bag lunches), health curricula, and, my personal favourite, teacher and peer-modeling.

All this to say, in my opinion, in order for teachers to be effective role models for our children, we need to provide them with the information and resources to do so.

Over the course of my career as a coach I’ve been able to work with some fantastic educators who elevated their fitness goals and lifestyle. They not only became an inspiration to me, but also acquired the knowledge and skill to be true role models both at home and in the classroom. It would mean the world to me to have my son, Jackson, taught by any of them.

So recently when I discovered my Coaching/Nutrition services can be applied to the Ontario Teachers benefit program, I instantly knew that I wanted to develop a platform that would give back to an industry that impacted me and would have undeniably influence our children.

This year I’ve put together a 12 week challenge designed specifically for Ontario teachers. Through this program participants will become part of the Strong Girl family. They will learn all the nutrition and fitness tips that have helped transform the lives of thousands of women and their families around the world.

I’m so excited about this and can’t wait for it to get underway. I can feel a health revolution coming for our educational systems that will only result with happier (and healthier) teachers and students!

For more about my Teacher Challenge, check out the following link.