15 Athletes Who Are Changing the Way We Eat

15 Athletes Who Are Changing the Way We Eat
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15 Athletes Who Are Changing the Way We Eat

Food Tank gives a nod to all the athletes who are champions on and off the court.

Muhammad Ali, former boxer, United States

Started in 2010, the 2013 Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant offers 50 gardening award packages to schools, including $400 in gardening supplies and $100 for soil amendments and plants. The program is funded by Yum! Brands Foundation.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Roberto Baggio, former football player, Italy

Baggio has been a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Goodwill Ambassador since 2002. He also supports the organization Professional Football Against Hunger, a non-profit organization that works to fight hunger and malnutrition.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ kanegen

David Beckham, former football player, United Kingdom

In 2005, Beckham became a U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador, a role he takes as seriously as soccer (er, football). In 2008, he helped launch the UNICEF 2008 State of the World’s Children Report. And in 2012, he and other athletes petitioned U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to address childhood hunger during the Olympic Games.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Raul Gonzalez Blanco, football player, Spain

Another FAO Goodwill Ambassador, Blanco has supported field projects in Senegal and Chad. Also like Baggio, he supports the Professional Football Against Hunger campaign.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Luol Deng, basketball player, Sudan

The Luol Deng Foundation works in the Chicago, the UK, and Sudan, aiming to provide basic human essentials to those in need. Deng, a Sudan native, has partnered with the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) to bring attention to troubles in Sudan.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison

Mo Farah, Olympic distance runner, United Kingdom

The Mo Farah Foundation works to help those facing starvation in East Africa. The organization was started by Farah and his wife, Tania, and provides emergency response food distribution, water and sanitation programs, and health and medical programs, amongst others.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Martina Navratilova, former tennis player and coach, Czech Republic

Navratilova serves as AARP’s Fitness Ambassador and regularly contributes to the AARP website, writing about everything from super foods to gluten-free diets. She also creates videos to encourage healthy lifestyles.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

New York Islanders, hockey team, United States

This team has repeatedly worked with the Long Island food bank Island Harvest to put together the organization’s holiday food drive. Island Harvest is Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization and became more needed than ever after Hurricane Sandy.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

New York Yankees, baseball team, United States

The New York baseball team sponsors The Healthy Home Plate Program, a program designed to teach the rising generation, specifically those ages 12 to 15, how to incorporate healthy, affordable meals into their everyday lives.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Rugby World Cup Sevens, rugby championship, international

The campaign Tackle Hunger has been a joint effort of the WFP and the International Rugby Board for a decade now. The effort seeks to engage sports fans everywhere to fight hunger worldwide.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Paul Tergat, long distance runner, Kenya

Tergat grew up to be a champion runner for Kenya, but growing up in poverty as a child, he regularly suffered from hunger. At age eight, he benefited from the WFP school meals program, and today, he serves as a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Lamarr Woodley, American football player, United States

Woodley supports the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for the annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway, and is inspiring his teammates to do the same. Said Woodley on the effort, “You always have to give back to the people who are unfortunate.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Shannon Miller, former gymnast, United States

Miller actively partners with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, which aims to reduce obesity, particularly childhood obesity by 2015.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/LaDomene13

Paul Pierce, basketball player, United States

Pierce’s foundation, The Truth on Health, promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle. To connect to fans and inspire people to work out, the campaign’s website sets forth the FitClub34 All-Star Challenge: “work out like a Celtic!”

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison

John Salley, former basketball player, United States

Salley is a notable advocate of a plant-based diet. His four NBA championships were all won on a vegetarian diet. He has even led nutrition lectures on cruises as a way to teach people how to improve their diets and lifestyles.

Image Credit: Shutterstock


What does Muhammad Ali have to do with food? According to Food Tank, "the greatest" boxer also ranks as one of the greatest athletes who champion charitable food causes. Today, Food Tank named "Twelve Athletes Fighting to Change the Food System," and invited others to add to the list.

15 Athletes Who Are Changing the Way We Eat

Founded in January by Danielle Nierenberg and Ellen Gustafson, Food Tank seeks to foster dialogue and initiate change in response to the broken food global food system, which seems to have as many issues with hunger as it does with obesity.

Check out the slideshow above to see what other athletes made Food Tank's list, and what they are doing.

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