Do you love dogs and really want a pet pooch back home, despite your folks being completely against it? Don't worry, turns out owning a dog is good for heart health because they encourage one to get outdoors and run around, claimed scientists.
According to a new study, scientists analysed the health of people who had a dog and found that they were more likely to be physically active. The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes examined the association of pet ownership -- specifically dog ownership -- with cardiovascular disease risk factors and cardiovascular health.
The study was conducted in the city of Brno, Czech Republic, from January 2013 through December 2014. Evaluations are scheduled for five-year intervals until 2030.
The study, led by St Anne's University Hospital Brno, recruited more than 2,000 people, with participants having age between 24 and 65 years with no history of heart disease.
The participants were subsequently given a heart health score based on BMI, diet, exercise level, smoking status, blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol. The study saw scientists conducting face-to-face interviews and asking them about their socioeconomic status, medical history and if they smoked as well as queries about their activity levels.
Notably, the study compared the cardiovascular health scores, ranked from zero to 14, of pet owners to those who did not own pets.
The study found that dog owners had a 0.3 higher score than owners of pets in general. Speaking about the same, lead author of the study, Dr Andrea Maugeri said that the greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level.
However, the study found that in general, people who owned pets were more likely to report physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at an ideal level.
The authors concluded dog owners are more likely to achieve a good heart health score, as they also had a lower weight and BMI.
However, on the flipside, the study found that dog owners were more likely to be smokers as well. Dr Maugeri concluded that people could adopt, rescue or purchase a pet as a potential strategy to improve their cardiovascular health.