IHT’s story began in 2010 when Jen Ohlson, a TV sportscaster and award-winning author, began researching childhood health issues for her debut documentary “Health Needs a Hero.” Searching to find one young star to share their story, Jen uncovered more than 1,000 high school students in San Antonio, Texas considered morbidly obese by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards.
Jen at the White House
The film inspired Jen to create a new physical education curriculum called “PE3” (PE for the Mind, Body, and Spirit) that interlinked physical and emotional wellness. PE3 proved so successful in reducing obesity, raising self-confidence, and connecting with parents that the Texas Education Agency made it an official statewide course and the Texas Department of State Health Services named it “The Most Innovative Course of the Year” in 2012.
Next, Jen expanded on ways to connect with kids on a daily basis and empower them to take ownership of their physical and emotional health for life, all while connecting all data and all stakeholders from kindergarten through graduation day.
Heart rate and assessment technology integrated with the curriculum became the answer.
In 2011, Jen and Ben Bentzin officially founded IHT in Austin, Texas. Recognizing heart rate as the most precise and accurate biofeedback measure used to determine physical effort and an emotional episode, they worked to build an education-specific heart rate monitor to help students learn in real-time how to identify physical and emotional experiences and develop skills to respond to and self-manage their overall health. Performance metrics and daily-to-yearly reporting would help teachers become more effective in reaching students on an individualized level with personalized instruction. Data would detail their successes.
IHT Founders Jen Ohlson and Ben Bentzin
After being named the best new innovation of the year by the American Heart Association, global sports brand adidas partnered with IHT in 2015 to help design, create and deliver our next-generation products and services:
- the ZONE heart rate monitor, the only wrist heart rate monitor specifically created for students and education;
- our mobile app for virtual learning environments;
- challenge-based lessons for our curriculum; and
- funding opportunities and incentives for schools.
The partnership resulted in IHT’s international expansion and helped grow our mission to impact as many young lives as possible. That growth established IHT as the industry leader in comprehensive student wellness accountability, including IHT being selected as the official data assessment software of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, the U.S.’s national physical fitness testing program since 1956.
Jen with adidas’ Kim Scheffler
Today, we help more than 11,000 schools in 32 countries integrate IHT into their teaching. Schools use IHT with physical education classes, emotional self-regulation efforts, special needs populations, online learning and home school settings, trauma-informed practices, staff wellness, athletics, and before- and after-school programs.
As our solution and team continue to grow, Jen and Ben’s mission remains the same: to empower as many young lives as possible to take ownership of their health and well-being, for life.