Dog owners are healthier. They show a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a new study has confirmed

Pet owners show a lower risk of cardiovascular disease; dog owners rank the best among them. These are the results of a cross-sectional analysis of data collected in the 2030 Brno Cardiovision project, a research programme being conducted at the International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17.9 million people die of cardiovascular disease every year. In the Czech Republic, more than 50,000 people die, most often of acute myocardial infarction and stroke.

Dog owners are healthier because they have to walk their dogs

A cross-sectional study that included 1,769 randomly selected subjects aged between 25 and 64 combined FNUSA-ICRC researchers with researchers from the prestigious Mayo Clinic (USA) and the University of Catania (Italy). The study shows that animal walking generally reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. The greatest health benefits were reported in dog owners than in other pet owners.
“We have compared the risk factors of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular health metrics, such as BMI, healthy diet, the level of physical activity, smoking, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol, between dog owners, other animal owners, and people who have no pets,” says Manlio Vinciguera, Head of the FNUSA-ICRC 2030 Cardiovision Brno research team that participated in the research.

Nearly every other person owns a pet

According to a the study, as many as 40% of all people own a pet. One-quarter of them (24.3%) own a dog and about 18% own another pet. “Of the people who own a pet other than a dog, they were more often women rather than men, with a lower level o education and were smokers who were more physically active. As far as cardiovascular health metrics are concerned, they more often showed a medium or ideal level of physical activity and a low rate of smoking,” Manlio Vinciguera describes the results of the study and adds that dog owners showed a higher cardiovascular health score compared to other animal owners and people who do not own any pet at all. Dog owners more often reached the recommended physical activity level and diet.

The 2030 Brno Cardiovision is a medical research programme spearheaded by the International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne´s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC). Its aim is to identify risk factors of cardio-vascular disease in the adult population of Brno and by gradually increasing the awareness of lifestyle risk factors and by shifting the thinking and behaviour of the citizens in the South Moravian capital, achieve decreased morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease in Brno.