As the school year approached in August, teachers, and those of us who support teacher wellness, were firmly focused on COVID-19 and the upcoming school year. And, rightly so. No one knew what was to come, and it seemed as though things were changing by the hour. However, buried in the non-stop health information that was coming at us before the start of the new school year was the fact that the Canadian obesity guidelines had been updated for the first time since 2007. While we don’t know exactly how many Canadian teachers are affected by obesity, we do know that approximately 26.4% (8.3 million) of Canadians over the age of 18 are classified as “obese” (Twells, Janssen, & Luk, 2018). And, if this proportion translates directly to the Canadian teacher population, we could estimate that roughly 202,849 teachers across Canada are struggling with obesity – a not insignificant number.
The Government of Canada had previously announced that the new guide would revise the types of foods recommended for healthy eating patterns. This week, the government delivered on that promise. Instead of telling us which food groups to eat from and how many servings we should be having of each every day, the new guide is in some ways much broader – directing us to eat more intuitively, opt for plenty of vegetables and fruits, and choose protein-rich and whole grain foods. And, don’t forget to hydrate; water is now the recommended drink of choice.