Why the Future is Bright for Fitness and Nutrition Careers
Health information is more available and widespread than ever. In fact, it's hard to miss. So Canadians are hearing the message about how important food choices and physical activity are to both their short- and long-term well-being. And most of them want to lead healthier lives. But they often get stumped when it comes to figuring out the best courses of action for themselves.
Many people simply need convenient access to professionals who can guide them through the process. Consequently, the demand for people with nutrition certification and fitness certification keeps growing. The health and well-being of our communities depend on it.
Even though people across Canada know how important diet and exercise are to their health, several statistics show that there's still a whole lot of room for improvement. For example, consider the following numbers from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada:
- Every seven minutes, somebody in Canada has a heart attack. That equals about 70,000 heart attacks each year.
- By 2020, diabetes is expected to have an economic burden on the country of $17 billion.
- More than half of all Canadians age 12 and over fail to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, which is the recommended minimum.
- More than 50 percent of the nation's women age 12 and up—and almost half of the country's men—are considered physically inactive.
- Over 80 percent of Canada's teenagers might not meet global guidelines for optimal growth and development due to low levels of physical activity.
Those facts might seem bleak, but there is reason for optimism. Other stats clearly show desire and intent on the part of more and more Canadians to improve their lifestyles. Check out these examples (all data from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, unless otherwise indicated):
- The nation's fitness and health club industry generates total revenues of about three billion dollars a year through over 4,500 businesses.
- Over 80 percent of Canadian consumers seek food products that have a high fibre content.
- In 2010 alone, more than $8 billion of naturally healthy food and drinks were purchased across the country.
- Canadian sales of organic produce are rising, on average, by 20 percent per year.
With the ever-increasing focus on health and lifestyle management, the vocational possibilities for people with the right training keep adding up. (This extensive list of nutrition jobs is specific to the U.S., but a lot of the information is equally relevant to Canada.) So you can tailor your career to fit your own combination of interests.
For instance, maybe you'll decide to focus on helping people lose weight or tone up through aerobic and anaerobic exercise as a personal trainer. Or maybe you'd rather educate people on the role of macro- and micro-nutrients like carbs, fat, protein, and minerals in the body while helping them make good food choices as a diet consultant. You might even choose to do some of both.
Whatever your goal, the variety of workplaces in need of such expertise is staggering. Here are some of the many examples:
- Recreational facilities
- Fitness clubs
- Health spas
- Community centres
- Weight loss clinics
- Cruise ships
- Retirement homes
- Natural food markets
- Summer and day camps
Many people in this field also choose to be self-employed and cultivate their own clients. Plus, the pay is another compelling aspect of these professions. As just one example, consider that a person in Canada who consults on recreation, sports, and fitness matters can earn a median hourly wage of $24.00 or up to $42.00 or more, according to Job Bank data.