Do pets protect children from anxiety and stress? Recent research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports the idea that pet dogs may protect children from childhood anxiety.
Some of the reasons include research that the US Public Health Service found, that pet dogs are linked with health benefits for grown ups. Also, dogs follow humans for cues in communication.
Dog ownership in the UK and Australia has been tied to increased physical activity and healthier body mass index (BMI) due to walking and active play. The US that not compiled such data, so researchers feel that more data is necessary to support owning a dog as a health strategy.
A research team from New York’s Bassett Medical Center looked into the connection between dog ownership and children’s healthy weight and metal health. They reviewed data from 643 children aged 4-10 years. The average age was 6.7 years. The children were studied over 18 months in a pediatric primary care practice. 58 percent had pet dogs at home.
There was no difference between the children who did not own a dog in BMI, physical activity, or screen time. However, among the children who did have a dog, only 12 percent tested as having anxiety, compared to 21 percent of children who had no dog.