The Mayo Clinic followed 1769 people in Europe and monitored their health based on 7 health markers - body mass index, diet, physical activity, smoking status, blood pressure, blood glucose and total cholesterol. [Source]
Based on those 7 significant health markers, they concluded that pet owners were more healthy on average than non pet owners. Dog owners specifically were the healthiest of all groups.
"The study demonstrates an association between dog ownership and heart health, which is in line with the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on the benefits of owning a dog in terms of physical activity, engagement and reduction of cardiovascular disease risk." - Dr Andrea Maugeri
It is thought that its because having a dog prompts owners to go out, move around and play with their dog regularly.
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