Pets don't promote he alth
The widespread belief that a pet is always good for your body and he alth turns out to be unfounded on closer inspection. On the contrary: Pet lovers are in poorer he alth than the rest of the population, warn two Finnish researchers.
Leena Koivusilta and Ansa Ojanlatva from the University of Turku had the 15-year HeSSup study (He alth and SocialSup port Study), which analyzed the he alth status of 21,101 Finns aged between 20 and 54 years. As it turned out, pet owners were mostly older than 40 years and lived more often in the country. Four out of five people working in agriculture owned a pet.
Pet owners, however, mostly belonged to lower social classes and showed a significantly lower level of education than that of the pet-free population. This was linked to a generally poorer state of he alth: They smoked more, exercised less and suffered more frequently from he alth problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcers, sciatica, migraines, depression or panic attacks.
Of course, owning a dog promoted daily exercise - but this had no influence on the obesity of the dog owner, especially among middle-aged villagers from lower social classes. In this population group, physical exercise overall is too low, the scientists conclude, which even occasional dog walking cannot compensate for. (aj)