Study Explores Connection Between Human and Pet Health

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While I’m all about the acronym, this one is just too long to roll off the tongue. Let’s just call the MIMRRVPOTP (also known as the Measuring the Impact of a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship between Pet Owners and Their Pets) MIM for short!

MIM is a research project that was funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) and is about to be carried out by the folks at Lincoln Memorial University in Washington, DC.

The goal of the study is to determine whether the physical health of a pet correlates with the physical health of the pet parent and the HABRI Foundation – which maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information – has awarded the university $27,000 in grant funding to get this one year pilot study up and running.

Related: HABRI Research Finds Emails to Dog Owners Prompts More Exercise

How does it work? The study will zero in on an area known as the Cumberland Gap Region of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia where data that includes body weight, heart rate, blood pressure and height will be gathered for 300 test subject and their pets (dog or cat) through a series of public health fairs. The region was selected because data shows the residents rank at the bottom in health outcomes for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and lack of physical activity.

Once collected, the data will be analyzed to establish a “model” of health and wellness behavior for both the human and their pet, identifying whether patterns of health and health-associated behaviors are similar. The expectation is that the model will show that pets share the same health benefits and risks as their owners.

Related: Research Shows Pet Ownership Saves $11.7 Billion in Health Care Costs

Principal investigator Dr. Charles Faulkner, Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University says “We believe the model developed in this study will help provide evidence that the relationship between humans and companion animals mutually reinforces their health and quality of life.”

For HABRI Executive Director Steve Feldman, the likely outcome is a no-brainer “Healthy pets make healthy people. Lincoln Memorial University can help us establish this important connection so that the human-animal bond is universally accepted as an essential element of human wellness.”


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