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Owning a dog is good for your heart because they encourage you to get outdoors and run around, claim scientists.
Experts who analysed the health of hundreds of people found those who had a furry friend - especially a dog - were more likely to be physically active.
Dog-owners - Diet - Diabetes - Researchers - Czechia
Dog-owners also had a better diet and were less likely to have diabetes, found the researchers based in Czechia.
Being active and having a good diet are key to cardiovascular health, while diabetes is known to boost the risk of heart disease.
Study - St - Anne - University - Hospital
The study, led by St Anne's University Hospital Brno, recruited more than 2,000 people.
All of the participants were aged between 24 and 65 years, and had no history of heart disease.
Heart - Health - Score - BMI - Level
They were given a heart health score, based on BMI, diet, exercise level, smoking status, blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol.
Face-to-face interviews asked all the volunteers about their socioeconomic status, medical history and if they smoked.
Participants - Activity - Levels - Desk - Day
They quizzed participants on their activity levels, asking whether they sat at a desk all day, went to the gym or walked to work, for example.
Each participant also revealed what they had eaten in the last 24 hours to assess general food habits.
Nurses - Tests - Blood - Pressure - Cholesterol
Nurses then carried out some tests to assess the blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels of the participants.
The study compared the cardiovascular health scores - ranked from zero to 14 - of pet owners to those who did not own pets.
Pet - Owners - Score - Whereas - Pets
Pet owners had a median score of 10, whereas those who did not have pets had a score of nine. Dog owners had a 0.3 higher score than owners of pets in general.
Lead author Dr Andrea Maugeri said: 'The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who...
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