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Nestle to help pets and owners lose weight online

ZURICH (Reuters) - The world's biggest food group Nestle has launched an online program inviting pet owners to team up with their furry friends to lose weight.

Nestle's pet and people weight management units Purina and Jenny Craig worked together on "Project: Pet Slim Down," an online program available in the United States, the Swiss-based company said in a statement Monday.

Pet owners who sign up can obtain tips for exercising with their pet, record exercise taken, track weight loss and share photos with other users, Nestle said.

On the website, users can follow five overweight cats and three dogs on their weight-loss journey via small movies and before-and-after pictures.

The British Pet Health Council, an association of veterinary and medical professionals, in cooperation with Mars Petcare is offering a similar health and fitness program for pets and their owners under the name "Petsercise."

"The obesity epidemic is not limited to people," said Lisa Talamini, Vice President of research and program innovation at Jenny Craig in the statement.

"Two thirds of adults in the US are overweight or obese, and more than half of all pets in the country are also battling the bulge," she said.

The World Health Organization said on its website 1.5 billion adults were overweight in 2008.

Nestle's U.S.-based pet food company Purina makes a range of veterinary diet products for cats and dogs with health problems, while its Jenny Craig brand offers human customers in North America, Oceania, France and Britain a personalized program for weight loss.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz)

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