Your heart’s best friend may be dog ownership

In the journals

Adopt a dog and get a healthier heart. That's the conclusion of a study published in the September 2019 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers looked at 1,769 people ages 25 to 64 with no history of heart disease. Participants' overall cardiovascular health was assessed based on several health markers, such as body mass index, diet, physical activity, smoking, blood pressure, blood sugar, and total cholesterol levels.

The researchers then compared the health results of pet owners (42% of the group) with non-owners. They found that, in general, pet owners were much more likely to maintain an active lifestyle and a heart-healthy diet. They also had healthier levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

However, when the researchers looked only at the pet owners, dog owners scored better across the board in all the health markers compared with owners of other pets.

The findings support other research that found dog owners walk more and have lower stress levels and less social isolation, all of which lower the risk of heart disease.

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