Still Life with Three Puppies

Puppies: The Cure for Obesity?

This is a tricky subject. That’s because ConscienHealth most definitely supports puppies. And owning a puppy can have benefits for health and well being. It encourages people to get out and get moving. But as a cure for obesity and heart disease, they come up short. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop news sites from publishing clickbait headlines.

A Reasonable Review with a Scammy Headline

Satesh Bidaisee wrote a perfectly reasonable op-ed that made a case for the health benefits associated with owning a dog. It can help with physical activity, cardiovascular health, and obesity. Studies have even shown an association with improved survival after a heart attack.

The American Heart Association has concluded that pet ownership may play a causal role in reduced cardiovascular risk. A controlled study has even shown that better weight management outcomes are possible when people and pets exercise together. But nowhere can you find any data on “cures.”

So that clickbait headline – promising that puppies cure obesity and heart disease – just isn’t necessary. The truth could work just fine by itself. And it tells a pretty good story.

No New Breakthroughs

We reached out to the author, a professor of public health and preventive medicine, to ask if some new data on this subject was out. He was quick with a good list of 17 references used for preparing his commentary. Nothing new. Just a solid bibliography. So we can hardly fault the author.

No, the problem lies with the headline writer and perhaps a business imperative to use sensationalism to drive web traffic. So the best advice is this. Take your health news with a grain of salt – figuratively, of course.

Click here for the commentary by Bidaisee, here for the scientific statement from the AHA, and here for the study of pet walking for weight management.

Still Life with Three Puppies, Painting by Paul Gauguin / WikiArt

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


May 7, 2018

One Response to “Puppies: The Cure for Obesity?”

  1. May 07, 2018 at 9:52 pm, John Menchaca said:

    The benefit is straight forward :
    1. By taking one’s dog for exercise one will also exercise .
    2. By saying “ I have to take my dog for exercise “ one can avoid the emotional aspect of having to say “ I have to walk “ thereby making it easier to go walking .