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21 November 2017, 01:10 | Rodolfo Quinn
Study: Owning dog linked to lower risk of dying earlier
Tove Fall, senior author of the study and Associate Professor in Epidemiology at Uppsala University, noted that while the study found associations between dog ownership and health, it did not provide answers as to how dogs could protect humans from cardiovascular disease. Overwhelmingly, it seems that those with a dog are far less impacted by cardiovascular disease than those who don't own a dog.
In addition, the study said it's "plausible that not all members of a multiple-person household interact with the dog as much as a single owner". Multi-person homes see an 11% decrease in their charge of death with a dog at home and a 15% lower chance of death due to cardiovascular disease.
Three million Swedes can't be wrong - dogs lower your heart disease risk.
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A group of academics from Uppsala University in Sweden analysed the health records of 3.4 million people in the country, where databases contain detailed information on nearly everyone's hospitalisations, medical history and even whether they own a dog. During the 12-year follow-up, they found that dogs may be helpful in reducing cardiovascular risk by providing a nonhuman form of social support and increasing physical activity. "Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts, or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner". The researchers compared the health of people who owned and didn't own dogs by cross checking with Sweden's detailed dog ownership databases.
The study couldn't prove cause and effect, but its lead researcher said there are many reasons having a pooch might do a body good.
"We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results". Either way, the dogs are probably going to lick you all over.
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