Herbalife Nutrition and Special Olympics: A Fitness Collaboration Worth Celebrating
By John Agwunobi, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., Chief Health and Nutrition Officer, Herbalife
October 12, 2016
When I joined the Herbalife Nutrition team earlier this year, I was especially excited to work for a company that turns words and ideas into action. I had heard all about how our members and employees supported the Special Olympics 2015 Summer World Games in Los Angeles. Team Herbalife supported approximately 10 percent of the 7,000 Special Olympic athletes competing at the World Games providing Herbalife products, apparel, accessories and sports bags. Members also raised and donated funds to help athletes from Ghana and South Africa to help get them to Los Angeles. We also donated 280,000 nutrition bars and the use of our Los Angeles Distribution Center in Carson, Calif. to register and credential thousands of athletes, coaches and volunteers.
Following up on this tremendous sponsorship in 2015, we just announced a $1 million collaboration with Special Olympics to support the organization’s fitness programming around the world, focusing on increasing physical activity and improving nutrition and hydration.
As part of the sponsorship, we may lend nutrition expertise and support Special Olympics’ development of educational content including videos and other materials for coaches, athletes, caregivers and the broader Special Olympics community. With our financial contribution to Special Olympics and our global team of more than 300 staff scientists and 36 Ph.Ds. specializing in nutrition or sports performance, we have a wealth of expert resources to tap.
Why do we sponsor athletes and teams? Because they have the ability to inspire us and show us what can be achieved with discipline, determination and a great attitude. And when it comes to following through on living a healthy, active lifestyle and getting more exercise, the public needs some motivation. A series of new articles on exercise published in the British journal, The Lancet1, reinforces the need for exercise as a tool to combat overweight, obesity and related chronic conditions:
- An estimated 5.3 million deaths per year around the world are due to inactivity.
- Further benefits of physical activity are shown in joint health effects of sedentary behavior and physical activity.
- The staggering $67.5 billion economic cost of physical inactivity worldwide to the health-care system through health-care expenditure and productivity losses … should be a wake-up call for Ministries of Health.
- As of 2016 physical activity is not improving worldwide, despite an increased number of countries having a national physical activity policy or plan.
These statistics demonstrate why action on increasing physical activity and promoting proper nutrition around the world is so needed.
At Herbalife Nutrition, we are excited about our collaboration with Special Olympics because it helps to raise awareness for the importance of nutrition and living a healthy, active lifestyle for people both with and without intellectual disabilities. As part of the sponsorship, Dana Ryan, Ph.D., senior manager of Sports Performance and Education for Herbalife, will join Special Olympics Global Fitness Task Force to bring additional perspective and expertise to support Special Olympics athletes, coaches, families and supporters. Herbalife Nutrition will feature the Special Olympics logo on its protein products in select global markets. Additionally, a variety of Herbalife Nutrition protein products® will feature the Special Olympics logo in select global markets.
Special Olympics and its amazing athletes inspire our global Herbalife community and we are proud to support the development of additional nutrition and fitness resources.
To learn more about the Special Olympics, World Games, and volunteer opportunities visit www.specialolympics.org/Sponsors/Herbalife.aspx.
1Published Online July 27, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(16)31070-4