The cure for obesity, heart disease and anxiety? Puppies!

A difference of just over 3.34 milligrams of mercury may not sound like much. But for each milligram of mercury decline in blood pressure, a person’s risk of stroke goes down by 5 percent.

Pet owners also exercise more. A study conducted by Australian researchers found that dog owners were physically active for an hour more each week than those who didn’t have dogs.

My own research aligns with these findings. In a survey of people in Grenada – home to St. George’s University, where I teach – my team found that less than 13 percent of pet-owners were obese. By contrast, half of the people in our sample who did not own pets were obese.

Keeping blood pressure low and staying active is great for the heart. One analysis of 3.4 million people spanning 12 years revealed that those who owned pets had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who were pet-less.

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