Is having a dog good for your health? | Life and Style –

Is having a dog good for your health? | Life and Style


D or more are our best friends, according to a Swedish study that says dog ownership could reduce heart disease. A study of 3.4 million people between the ages of 40 and 80 found that having a dog was badociated with a 23% reduction in death from heart disease and a 20% lower risk of dying from any cause during the 12-year period. study. Previous studies have suggested that dogs relieve social isolation and depression, both related to an increased risk of heart disease and premature death.

The solution

Dog owners show better stress responses (their blood pressure and heart rate do not increase), have higher levels of physical activity and slightly lower cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association was influenced enough by a review of dozens of studies to release a statement in 2013 that having a dog "probably" was badociated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Their reluctance to more firmly support dog ownership is because most studies are what is called observation: researchers note an badociation, but can not prove causality. This means that other factors may explain why dog ​​owners are healthier than, say, goldfish owners; For example, perhaps only people who are fit first buy pets that need daily walks.

Tove Fall, epidemiologist and author leader of this latest study, says they did everything possible to allow any difference in education, existing ill health and lifestyles between those with and without dogs. The study found that the greatest positive impact of having a dog was on people living alone. "It seems that a dog can be a substitute for living with other people in terms of reducing the risk of dying," says Fall. "Dogs encourage them to walk, provide social support and make life more meaningful.If you have a dog, you interact more with other people.If you get sick and go to the hospital and you have a dog, there is a great motivation to try back home ".

Of course, getting a dog and looking at it from the couch while eating fatty foods will not work. to reduce your risk of heart disease And a toy dog ​​can look cute, but it will not have any effect either. The Fall study showed that most of the health benefits came from having retrievers or pointers. Until his German shorthaired pointer died last year, he ran 10 km with most of his days. "In Sweden, we have one of the lowest dog ownership rates in Europe," says Fall, who recently obtained a new puppy. "Maybe this will increase the acceptance that dogs are important to people."

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