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% of pet owners feel that making sure their pet is more active has made them more active as well. During the pilot year, Mars Petcare’s new Power of Pets™ program will be rolled out at YMCA locations in Washington, D.C., New York City, Nashville, Chicago and Portland, at which Mars Petcare will sponsor family-focused healthy living fairs for pets and people in the coming months. Additional on-going activities, such as community dog-walking programs, will debut in specific markets in the coming months.
"At the YMCA, we believe healthy lifestyles are about nurturing the spirit, mind and body – and pets certainly play a role in that. We encourage families to play together every day, and incorporating the family pet is a great way to make everyone more active," said Ted Cornelius, a spokesman for the YMCA.
For decades, Mars Petcare has invested in research into Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) through it’s world-renowned WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition. WALTHAM® scientists 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.
"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. 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," said Dr. Karyl Hurley, global director of scientific affairs, The WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition.