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Mars Petcare Launches Program to Highlight Health Benefits of Pet Ownership


NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Mars Petcare today announced the launch of The Power of Pets™, a new community-focused initiative that brings scientific research to life on the ways pets and their owners can help each other live healthier, happier lives.

As the cornerstone of The Power of Pets™ program, Mars Petcare is collaborating with YMCAs in five cities to bring pet-friendly health and physical activity education and programming to communities. The collaboration marries Mars Petcare’s passion for serving pets and pet owners with the YMCA’s longstanding dedication to the holistic health and wellness of the communities it serves. In its pilot year, The Power of Pets™ will roll out at YMCA locations in Washington, D.C.; New York City; Nashville, Tenn.; Chicago; and Portland, Ore.

“Mars Petcare, through its world-renowned WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, has long been a leader in researching the meaningful physical, psychological and social benefits that pets bring to individuals and communities,” said Debra Fair, vice president of corporate affairs, Mars Petcare US. “The Power of Pets™ program is the perfect way for us to share this research and really bring these benefits to life. Pets make us healthier and happier so we believe it’s our responsibility to make the world a better place for pets.”

Exercise is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle, and research suggests that owning a pet helps increase levels of physical activity. A recent survey of 1,000 U.S. pet owners conducted by Mars Petcare revealed that more than half of pet owners would prefer to exercise with their pet instead of alone. The survey also revealed that 39 percent of pet owners feel that making sure their pet is more active has made them more active as well.

“At the YMCA, we believe healthy lifestyles are about nurturing the spirit, mind and body – and pets certainly play a role in that,” said Ted Cornelius, Executive Director, Tennessee State Alliance/Pioneering Healthier Communities, YMCA of Middle Tennessee. “We encourage families to play together every day, and incorporating the family pet is a great way to make everyone more active.”

In the coming months, Mars Petcare will sponsor family-focused healthy living fairs for pets and people at the following locations:

* New York City – The Prospect Park YMCA, October 16
* Chicago – The Hastings Lake YMCA, October 23
* Washington, D.C. – The YMCA of Silver Spring, October 24
* Nashville, Tenn. – The Brentwood YMCA, November 6
* Portland, Ore. – Spring 2011

Additional on-going activities, such as community dog-walking programs, will debut in specific markets in the coming months.

Mars Petcare and Human-Animal Interaction

For decades, Mars Petcare – through its world-renowned WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition – has led the way in research in Human-Animal Interaction (HAI), the scientific field that studies the bond between humans and companion animals. WALTHAM® scientists not only conduct their own research, they have formed a partnership with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development to fund over $9 million in studies that seek to establish a scientific link between pet ownership and better physical and mental health.

It was Mars Petcare’s long history of leadership in HAI and desire to bring this beneficial information to a larger audience that prompted the creation of The Power of Pets™ program.

“WALTHAM® has established an incredible body of evidence on the health benefits of pet ownership and The Power of Pets™ program will help us translate that research to people and communities,” said Dr. Karyl Hurley, global director of scientific affairs, The WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition. “With obesity levels rising and health levels falling, we want to contribute our knowledge and expertise to help address those very serious issues, and at the same time, call attention to what we can do as humans to ensure the pets in our lives are also healthy and happy.”

About Mars Petcare

Mars Petcare is the world’s largest petcare manufacturer, with 2009 global sales of approximately $12 billion. Headquartered in Brussels, Mars Petcare produces brands such as PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA®, CESAR®, ROYAL CANIN®, NUTRO®, GREENIES®, KITEKAT®, CHAPPI®, and CATSAN®. Mars Petcare is also home to Mars Fishcare, Mars Horsecare, Petservices and Banfield ®, the Pet Hospital. The WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition provides the science behind our leading petcare brands. Mars Petcare is a segment of Mars, Incorporated, a private, family-owned company employing more than 65,000 associates in 68 countries worldwide. Headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S., Mars, Incorporated is one of the world’s largest food companies, generating global sales of more than $28 billion annually.

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About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).

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