UCLA HEALTHY YEARS – Helping Older Adults Lead happier, healthier lives
September Issue 2016 Volume 13 . Number 9
Dog walking is associated with lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, more frequent exercise, and an increase in social benefits for seniors. According to recent research from the University of Missouri [MI], people with higher degrees of pet bonding were more likely to walk their dogs and to spend more time walking their dogs compared with those who reported weaker bonds. Researchers’ conclsions were based on an analysis of 2012 date from the Health and Retirement study, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration. “This study provides evidence for the association between dog walking and physical health using a large, nationally representative sample,” says Rebecca Johnson, PhD, MU College of Veterinary Medicine. Researchers suggested that retirement communities also could be encouraged to incorporate more pet friendly policies, such as including dog walking trails and dog exercise areas so that their residents could have access to the health benefits. The study, published in The Gerontologist, included data about human-animal interactions, physical activity, frequency of doctor visits and health outcomes of the participants.