Health • Fitness • Nutrition • Mind • Life
These experts, role models, advanced thinkers and passionate doers are dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of Canadians. They will make our lives better—and those of our children and grandchildren.
Canada is a healthy society by global standards—but we still have a long way to go. Poor nutrition, lack of exercise and education, limited resources and the constant stress of our fast-paced life take a toll on too any individuals and their families. Even for the healthiest, an illness, accident or difficult life event can cause the needle to dip sharply. Then loved ones and colleagues get drawn into the downward spiral as well.
That’s why OptiMYz presents our annual list of TOP 100 Health Influencers. This remarkable group of people represent our five brand pillars: health, nutrition, fitness, life/adventure and mind/metal wellbeing. Together, these five categories present a holistic view of a health body and mind—and also of a healthy individual within a healthy society.
These influencers are on the cutting edge of health in Canada—and indeed in the world. From medical researchers and business people to athletes and media stars, from policy makers and non-for-profit leaders to chefs and psychologist, they are showing the way forward. By example, they show that it is possible to lead a healthy life. And that broad social challenges have solutions that we can embrace collectively.
Influence is a simple word. It means that ideas have power, that individual and small groups can have a big impact. We have selected 100 who make a difference, but indeed there are thousands of people across Canada dedicated to making the future healthier than the present. It’s a group we are proud to follow.
What is the most important policy change that the government could make to improve the overall health of Canadians?
Household food security needs to be an explicit focus of poverty reduction strategies. It results in poor physical health, mental health, and productivity, leading to overcrowding of our healthcare systems. Ensuring food security for Canadian should be a priority within the political domain, instead of the charitable domain.
As president and CEO of the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation, Barbara Grantham champions the power of philanthropy to transform health care. She has brought attention to acute mental health care and palliative ambulatory care. Last year, the foundation raised close to $100 million for medical equipment and research She is on the board of the YMCA and Jack.org.
Louise Green collaborates with media and brands to expand size-inclusivity in health and fitness and trains women who are outside the cultural norm. She educates fitness leaders and advocates for authentic representation of different body types. Green is the author of Big Fit Girl. She recently released the first all-inclusive fitness app of the same name.
Lisa Greenbaum holds E-RYT 500 and is a C-IAYT Yoga Therapist and author. Winner of the 2018 Canadian Presenter of the Year for Canfitpro and a Global Ambassador of the Women in Fitness association, she is the founder of Sangha Wellness Retreats. She travels the world, empowering her students through the practice of yoga and community.
Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter is a vulvar and vaginal diseases expert. Soon to be profiled as an ELLE Magazine Woman to Watch, she has been called Twitter’s resident gynecologist, the internet’s OB/GYN, and a fierce advocate for women’s health. She writes regular columns for The New York Times and has written for academic publications. CBC Gem has launched her series Jensplaining.
Federal Minister of Health Patty Hajdu is a strong advocate for women’s rights, youth employment, and affordable housing. Before entering politics, Minster Hajdu was the executive Director of Shelter House Thunder Bay and a co-author of the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy. She previously worked in public health and focused on drug policy, youth development, and homelessness.
Maureen (Mo) Hagan is the Chief Operation Officer at Canfitpro and National Program Director at GoodLife Fitness. Mo, as she is known in the fitness industry, is a licensed physiotherapist and a physical health educator. She is a global fitness ambassador, an award-winning fitness professional, best-selling author and a Reebok sponsored athlete.
A master’s student at Queen’s University, Katie Heggtveit founded “Bootcamps for Change,” fitness classes for youth in homeless shelters in Canada. An instructor with Canfitpro, she runs workshops at shelters in Toronto, and mobilizes instructors across the country to volunteer in their own communities.
At age 20, Brooke Henderson became the first Canadian woman to win a golf major since 1968. At age 18 she was a member of the Rio 2016 Canadian Olympic Team. She won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, becoming the second-youngest women’s major winner ever. She rose to second in the World Golf Rankings.