Posted by: glamielle | July 22, 2012

2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families Coalition Report – July 18th, 2012, Los Angeles CA, USA

As we move from the theory and discussion of One Health principles to their application, we must focus on creating partnerships with other health fields and provide a unified, coherent effort against the public health challenges we face today or will face in the future.

One way to do that is to bring all stakeholders together and work together to address specific health issues that need to be changed. The 2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families (2020 HPHF) coalition, aims to improve several health-related issues using an evidence-based perspective. Anchored in a One Health approach, this task force brings leaders from various backgrounds including animal, human and environment for a collaborative effort to improve public health. This coalition is inspired by the Healthy People initiative, a model that has been in place since the 1980s, and meets quarterly to discuss their progress.

The Coalition has identified 7 focus areas, or specific issues, that will be addressed and improved. These are:

  • “Pet Obesity: Pet obesity is skyrocketing, just like with people. What can help? Walking the dog! Studies show that walking the dog helps people get the recommended amount of exercise. By exercising together, owners and their pets can get healthy.
  • Second-hand smoke: Pets can develop cancer after being exposed to second hand smoke. They can become ill after accidentally eating cigarette butts. A recent study supported the idea that educating smokers about the risk to pets may motivate them to quit.
  • Spay-Neuter: Pets that are spayed or neutered have a reduced risk of certain cancers, and are less likely to roam, be hit by a car or bite someone.
  • Vaccine preventable diseases: By increasing pet vaccination, we not only protect pets from these diseases, we also reduce the financial and emotional costs that these illnesses inflict on the community.
  • Disaster Preparedness and pets: Preparing the family pets for disasters helps start the process of preparing the whole family.
  • Bite Prevention: Approximately 2% of the population is bitten every year. Most animal bites can be prevented.
  • Zoonotic Disease and Parasite Prevention: Zoonotic diseases are those transmissible between people and pets. Approximately 60% of the pathogens that can infect people are zoonotic. Pets owners can take many simple steps to protect themselves and their pets. Keeping a pet free of fleas, ticks and other parasites, protects not only the pet, but the family and neighborhood, from a variety of diseases. Pet owners that pick up the poop safeguard the community from contamination.” (Source: 2020 HPHF website)

At this early stage in the coalition, the goal is to gather data from various organizations that can be tracked in order to measure positive changes at the end of the decade. The task force will also create a public document outlining the scope of the problem and give more background information on 2020 HPHF; this publication will be available in December 2012. The next steps include establishing intervention strategies for each focus group that will take place over the next 8 years.

The 2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families brought together veterinarians, physicians, animal behaviorists, professors from Western University and various other parties interested in improving both animal and human health.

Stay tuned for more developments on this exciting effort which applies One Health principles for the benefit of animals and people alike.


  1. You’ve got very good info in this article.

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