The World Needs Health Coaches Now More Than Ever: Here's How You Can Help
If there's one thing the pandemic experience has taught us, it's that optimizing your overall health is crucial. That way, when the next global virus is upon us (because, trust us; there will be another one on the roster), your immune system is well equipped to disarm the threat rather than deal with existing health issues that bubble up.
If your immune system is an army—one that fights off invaders with ease—you fuel its soldiers with immune-supporting agents, like foods, herbs, and supplements. That's why nutrition is paramount.
We need to start making nutrition a priority, not just right now but for the long haul. And that's where health coaches come into play.
Why the world needs more health coaches right now.
Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes1 (higher than normal blood sugar that usually means you're on the fast track to developing type 2 diabetes), but more than 84% of those people don't even know it? Were you aware that only 12.2% of Americans are metabolically healthy, meaning 88% of people—if not more—experience silent metabolic dysfunction, which slowly brews in your body until it manifests as chronic disease (or in the case of COVID, a severe infection)? That's not to scare you into a pathology mentality, but it does emphasize the importance of becoming in tune with your own body. Learning all the subtle signs it's desperately trying to tell you means you can approach any underlying conditions before a global health crisis does it for you.
It turns out, one powerful way to approach these silent, chronic conditions is through food and nutrition. As preventive medicine specialist David Katz, M.D., previously told us about COVID and nutrition: "The greatest single influence of whether you develop a bad chronic disease or die prematurely is your diet quality. Diet is constantly, universally important. Literature showing that it is the single leading predictor of all-cause mortality2 is incontrovertible." As a health coach, you'll learn what foods work for your body (read: not all diets work for everyone!) and how to optimize your personal well-being and immunity through nutrition.
Not only does this level of training help you become more aligned with your own body's needs, but it can also help support others with their nutrition goals, as well. The staggering statistics above show that when it comes to health and well-being, the standard American way of living (and eating) is not sustainable. However, real, long-lasting change starts with education—and that's where health coaches enter the picture. Optimizing your own health is a first and crucial step, but it's only half the battle; to truly enhance the health of our country (and beyond), it takes a societal shift.
And let's not forget about the mental toll this pandemic has taken on society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)3, 1 in 4 young adults (ages 18 to 24) seriously contemplated suicide during the pandemic, with millennials (those born from 1981 to 1996) and Gen Z (born in 1997 and onward) among the most likely to say their mental health has significantly declined. Health coaches look at holistic well-being, where optimizing mental health is just as important as a balanced dinner plate. The bottom line? We need to lend support—of all kinds—to society, and we need to do it together.
How to become a health coach.
There are numerous programs out there, but with the knowledge that nutrition is a crucial foundation for a strong health coaching program—we decided to create our own!
mbg's NBHWC-approved Health Coaching Certification teaches everything you need to know about an integrative approach to wellness and includes functional nutrition training, too. The curriculum offers a wealth of information from top experts, all at your fingertips in interactive, cohort-based learning.
It's like a crash course in all things health and well-being, culminating in a coaching certification to prove your prowess. And if you're interested in taking your instruction a step further (let's say you're already a nutrition coach looking to deepen your knowledge), you'll also learn how to launch, brand, and market your services.
It's high time we approach any pandemic we experience from a lifestyle perspective—specifically, changing up diet to foster stronger metabolic health. As a health coach, you'll become a go-to source for all things food and nutrition. Not only will this knowledge help support your own health and well-being, but it will also give you the tools to enhance our collective immune resilience.
Jason Wachob is the Founder and Co-CEO of mindbodygreen and the author of Wellth. He has been featured in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Vogue, and has a B.A. in history from Columbia University, where he played varsity basketball for four years.