Top 100 in Wellness: Kids & Family Category

These 10 advocates focus on setting healthy habits at an early age

Kids and Family

Forming healthy habits at a young age can set a lifetime course for healthy living, physically and mentally. And if you do it together as a family, the benefits can be even more rewarding—bonding over shared experiences and creating lifelong memories. These 10 youth-focused leaders are setting the stage for a health-first mindset for today's kids.

Jennifer Anderson, MSPH, RDN

Jennifer Anderson
Instagram 

On her website, Kids Eat in Color, registered dietitian Jennifer Anderson gives expert advice to promote healthy nutrition in the home. She provides easy-to-use educational tools and a unique meal plan system for busy parents who need relief from mealtime struggles. Her practical but supportive advice empowers frustrated moms and dads to feel better about making smart food choices. 

Laura Sykora

Laura Sykora
Getty

Laura Sykora is a mom, a celebrated yoga teacher, and a self-described handstand addict. She demonstrates gravity-defying poses on her Instagram feed but encourages others to move and explore within their limits. Through the practice of Acrovinyasa she bonds with her husband and her daughter and inspires others to connect with their families through yoga as well.

Tim Hightower

Tim Hightower
Getty (Right)

A serious knee injury didn’t stop Tim Hightower from chasing his professional dream of becoming a renowned NFL player, having played for the Cardinals, Redskins, Saints, and 49ers. Now he’s taken what he’s learned and is helping kids foster the skills necessary to overcome adversity, balance emotions and behaviors, and lead healthier lives with purpose. Armed with an affinity for holistic living, Tim mentors kids to be the healthiest versions of themselves.

"Tim has become a wellness influencer who helps people live with purpose. He shares motivational messages alongside fitness tips that inspire people to become their best." - Amy Morin, Verywell Judge

Shanti Hodges

Shanti Hodges
hikeitbaby.com 

Shanti Hodges founded her non-profit Hike It Baby as a way to promote the benefits of getting outdoors with friends and family. Now, the full-blown movement has over 300 branches and 200,000 families supporting over 1,500 hikes monthly across North America. Through her book, her blog, and her social media channels, she helps parents and caregivers of little walkers find family-friendly adventures to enhance healthy living and wellness.

"Shanti Hodges created a movement that supports moms and their children in an affordable, healthy, and fun way, giving them a way to connect and destress with other moms and introducing kids to the great outdoors." - Rachel Gurevich, Verywell Judge

Natalie Monson

Natalie Monson
Instagram

Super Healthy Kids founder Natalie Monson provides tips, tools, and inspiration to help parents create healthy routines in the home. With a sense of playfulness and a solid background as a registered dietitian, her website, meal-planning app, and social media channels give moms and dads evidence-based strategies surrounding food, sleep, and exercise to help kids thrive.

Brian Kitts

Brian Kitts
youcanplayproject.org

Brian Kitts co-founded You Can Play to celebrate his love of sports and, more importantly, encourage tough conversations about subtle behaviors that leave some athletes on the sidelines. The organization works to banish the casual homophobia that exists on the ballfield, in locker rooms, and in other athletic arenas. They celebrate openly gay athletes and work to change sports environments so that all participants are equally encouraged to play hard, contribute to their team, and excel in their endeavors.

Jennifer Gelman, PhD

Jennifer Gelman
Jennifer Gelman

Jennifer Gelman is no stranger to juggling. An athlete all her life, she was also a special education teacher and an assistant professor. But on top of her passion for teaching, it was her job as parent of four kids under the age of nine that really fueled her to launch BWMC Fitness, a program designed to provide convenient, quick, effective, and flexible workouts for busy parents. She is a certified trainer with the American Council on Exercise and uses her blend of health and humor to help other parents find balance in their lives.

Elizabeth Kunz 

Elizabeth Kunz
girlsontherun.org 

As the CEO of Girls on the Run (GOTR), Elizabeth Kunz continues her work as a champion for issues relating to women and girls. GOTR reaches out to girls in 3rd through 8th grades and engages them in running-based programs that teach life lessons, build strength, and boost self-confidence. Kunz, along with her predecessors, has changed the lives of over 200,000 girls who participated in completing over 14,000 community service projects.

Joy Bauer MS, RDN, CDN

Joy Bauer
Getty 

Many people are familiar with Joy Bauer for her work helping men and women cook healthy meals in the home. But what sets Joy apart from other nutrition experts is her work to engage children from a young age to be active participants in their own path to well-being. Her new book Yummy Yoga combines instructions for playful poses with delightfully healthy food images to inspire kids to eat well and move often.

Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp
Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp has turned his challenging childhood into a life of triumph and inspiration. The award-winning speaker, documentary host, and best-selling author is a global youth empowerment advocate who helps parents and other caring adults connect with the teens in their lives to build trust. His actionable advice is a unique combination of evidence-based techniques, direct humor, and lifelong experience.

Our Methodology

We polled the Verywell community to understand what categories in the ever-growing world of wellness actually interest them the most. After the final top 10 categories were identified, we then turned to our expert judges—comprised of leading voices in the fields of nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, and more—to nominate 10 trailblazers within each of the 10 categories who deserve to be recognized for their pioneering efforts in promoting healthy lifestyle messages. Our highly-skilled editorial team reviewed all submissions, filling in any gaps along the way. We landed on a list of 100 leaders who we believe not only epitomize what wellness is today but who are also paving the way as the definition continues to evolve.

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