Are you considering adopting a dog for the holidays?
Maybe this study will convince you. While the effects of dogs on adult health and well-being has been studied, this new research project took a look at how dogs can help kids.
According to the NBC News, the study titled “Pet Dogs and Children’s Health: Opportunities for Chronic Disease Prevention,” found that children in homes with a friendly canine “score far lower on clinical measures of anxiety.”
Bassett Medical Center in New York looked at 643 kids, average age of 6.7 years old, over 18 months to measure the effects of having a dog on their health. They found that only 12 percent of the children with dogs tested positive for clinical anxiety, vs. 21 percent of kids from houses without a dog.
“Little evidence exists regarding the benefits of pet dogs for young children. This study investigates the hypothesis that pet dogs are positively associated with healthy weight and mental health among children,” they wrote.
The researchers also looked at child body mass index, physical activity and screen time.
While they did not find significant differences in those other categories, the results of the children’s anxiety levels stood out, indicating that more research in this area should be done.
“It may be that less anxious children have pet dogs, or pet dogs make children less anxious,” Dr. Anne Gadomski and colleagues wrote in their findings published in the CDC’s journal Preventing Chronic Disease.
“From a mental health standpoint, children aged 7 to 8 often ranked pets higher than humans as providers of comfort and self-esteem and as confidants,” the researchers also wrote. “Animal-assisted therapy with dogs affects children’s mental health and developmental disorders by reducing anxiety and arousal or enhancing attachment.”
Enjoy more benefits of having a dog friend below for everyone, courtesy of the CDC: