This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Monday, November 12, 2012

Your Dog is Good for Your Health

About four in ten households in the US includes a dog member (the "nation within a nation," as Spencer Quinn calls them), according to data from the Humane Society of the United States. There are many reasons to have a dog, but a session at the recent annual meeting of the American Public Health Association offered up emerging evidence that they really are good for your health.
When Jacqueline Epping first told her colleagues she was interested in using dog walking to promote health, they weren’t always on board.

But in the past decade, a growing body of literature shows a strong relationship between dog walking and health. 
“Dogs can and do increase physical activity, and we even see some secondary health benefits,” Epping said.

The body of knowledge around dog walking is “relatively young,” she said, but there is a “robust body of evidence” as to the health benefits of pets, including lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced stress, improved mental health, speedier recovery, increased longevity after a heart attack and improved quality of life among older adults, just to name a few.
Most of us who have a dog are aware of the mental health benefits they offer. Dogs regularly make appearances in hospitals and other places to brighten up people's lives. But it is good to know that there is an even longer list of health benefits with which they are associated. In the war against obesity, for example, they may be an important medicine.

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