Trainer aims to get couch and lap potatoes in shape

Mon Jun 1, 2009 11:36am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - One of Hollywood's top celebrity trainers is on a mission to turn people and their pets into the biggest losers.

The Beverly Hills-based fitness guru Gunnar Peterson, known for helping the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Sylvester Stallone stay in shape, has created a series of workout videos for people to do with their dogs and cats.

"It's about getting fit with your pet," said Peterson from Los Angeles. "We're all short of time, so we combine the two."

And just in time. Veterinarians say that as human waistlines keep expanding, so do the torsos, and health issues, of our furry friends.

"Just as we've become a nation of couch potatoes, we've created a nation of lap potatoes in our pets," said Dr. Ernest Ward, president of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), a group of veterinarians dedicated to reducing obesity in pets.

"Over 44 percent of dogs and 57 percent of cats are now estimated to be overweight or obese," he said, citing the latest APOP study.

In an interview from Calabash, North Carolina Ward added that when he graduated from veterinary school 17 years ago, pet obesity wasn't an issue.

But now it's an epidemic, even in Beverly Hills.   Continued...

<p>Celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson demonstrates power dog walks from his workout video, Los Angeles, in this 2008 handout photograph. REUTERS/Hill's Pet Nutrition/Handout</p>