Feeding the World: My Commitment. My Story.
The facts around hunger are jarring. One in nine children in the world goes to bed hungry, and 820 million people do not have enough to eat. Chronic undernutrition in early life is linked to lack of a full education, poor cognitive skills, lower earnings and a higher likelihood of living in poverty.
As a global company, Herbalife Nutrition knows that good nutrition can be life-changing to vulnerable populations affected by malnutrition. I am proud to work for a company that is using its worldwide nutrition resources to address hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. We’ve started a Nutrition for Zero Hunger campaign partnering with many nonprofit organizations to raise awareness and provide funds to help the world’s most needy achieve a healthier diet. In addition, our more than 160 Casa Herbalife Nutrition Programs worldwide, part of the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation, are dedicated to improving the lives of children in need and works in partnership with local charities to provide healthy meals and nutrition education to children around the world.
As someone who has dedicated her life to helping people achieve their nutrition and fitness goals, I am passionate about helping our most vulnerable populations gain access to education and information to lead healthier lives. When we conjure up images of those who are food insecure, we often imagine people living on the streets, in homeless shelters or in temporary housing. What we fail to see is that hunger can be deceptive. A hungry person can be someone who has a place to live, but not enough money to provide three meals a day to their family. Hunger can also be a student whose only meal of the day is served at school. I know firsthand what hunger feels like and understand the pain, shame and challenges of being food insecure.
My childhood story is like so many others in the world. I am committed to sharing my past in order to help inform and change the future. My siblings and I were raised by a single mother in public housing — and while we had clothes to wear and a parent who worked sporadically, we often did not have enough food to feed our family. We relied heavily on our school meal programs, providing the only guaranteed, balanced meal we had access to, which made summertime more challenging for my mom. Thankfully, there were times my family benefitted greatly from programs that provide food options to families, particularly though our church.
Inspiration to succeed comes from many places, and my life changed dramatically when an Olympic athlete came to speak at our middle school. He described growing up in the same poor neighborhood as ours and how he overcame challenges to focus on achieving great physical feats. He encouraged us to do the same.
As someone who always was naturally athletic, his story had a profound effect on me. For the first time in my life, I saw a way to use my skills to move beyond my financial and food insecurities. I wanted to be him, to win a medal and to power my way to a different future. Track became my sport, and my first races were run in a pair of shoes donated by a boy on my street. But my training and effort paid off. I had the honor and fortune of representing Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200-meter and the 4 x 100-meter relay events.
Since that time, I’ve devoted my life to educating people about the importance of movement and nutrition. Through my job, I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with many of our community organizations to educate and mentor people of all ages. Working with kids is especially rewarding. At the Boys & Girls Clubs, we talk about which foods are nutritious and about making healthy choices. I also get all the kids moving — because movement is a common global language. I love watching the shyest, most self-conscious kids move and grow, letting go of inhibitions and reveling in the power and positivity of exercise.
Through the Nutrition for Zero Hunger campaign, our team is powering ways to connect to people around the globe through education, exercise, nutrition and healthy food. Our goal is to help eradicate hunger and feed the world working with our partners and our team around the world.
I have found that by sharing my story with people of all ages, I build an instant connection and recognition that I literally walked in their shoes. Because of my personal experiences, I am particularly proud of this new campaign and our commitment as an organization to end global hunger by 2030. We all have the opportunity and obligation to help lift people up to not just imagine a world where no one goes to bed hungry but make zero hunger a reality.
Samantha Clayton is the VP of Sports Performance and Fitness Education at Herbalife Nutrition. She has direct responsibility for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Herbalife Nutrition independent distributors and employees, and leads a team that designs nutrition protocols for elite athletes.
Clayton is a certified personal trainer with specialty certifications in group fitness, youth fitness programming, senior fitness and athletic conditioning. Through group training sessions, fitness educational tools and the Herbalife Nutrition-sponsored blogs I Am Herbalife Nutrition and Discover Good Nutrition, Clayton ensures that consumers understand the vital role exercise plays in living a healthier and happier lifestyle.
She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the Company’s corporate wellness program.
Having performed at the highest athletic level, Clayton represented Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Before the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials–a silver medal for the 200m and bronze for the 100m–as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997.