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Mars Petcare Launches Program To Highlight Health Benefits Of Pet Ownership


Company teams with YMCAs in D.C., New York City, Nashville, Tenn., Chicago and Portland, Ore. to deliver The Power of PetsTM Initiative

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mars Petcare today announced the launch of The Power of PetsTM, 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 PetsTM 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 PetsTM 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 PetsTM 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 YMCA of Prospect Park, 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 PetsTM program.

“WALTHAM® has established an incredible body of evidence on the health benefits of pet ownership and The Power of PetsTM 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.”

More Information
For more information, please visit The Power of PetsTM fan page on Facebook. This page will be regularly updated with upcoming event information, tips for exercising with your pet, and facts about the benefits of human-animal interaction.

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.

About the YMCA
YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the Y, one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. YMCA of the USA is a member of the World Alliance of YMCAs.


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