- Monday, 23 July 2012
Academics from the University of Lincoln and Glasgow Caledonian University have been awarded a £45,000 prize to research the effect dog ownership has on human health-enhancing activity patterns.
The prize, awarded by the International Society of Anthrozoology and WALTHAM – the fundamental science centre for Mars Petcare - is designed to further research into human-animal interactions, with a particular focus on the role pets play in the lives of elderly people and how they can enhance healthy longevity.
Professor Daniel Mills and Dr Sarah Ellis, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, will focus on measuring health-enhancing physical activity patterns and sedentary behaviour amongst older people who own dogs.
“We are really excited by this award, as it not only recognises the quality of our ongoing research into human-animal interactions, but allows us to strengthen an important collaboration with human health professionals”, said Professor Mills, the study’s principal investigator.Previous research has established that dog owners are more likely to walk for longer time periods than those without a dog, but research to this point has focused on walking dogs outdoors, excluding activities such as walking around the house or taking the dog to training classes.
With the increase of obesity in Western countries and the ageing population, understanding the factors which contribute to healthy ageing is vitally important.
The new research will provide the first objective and quantifiable data on the influence of dogs on the health of older adults by using accelerometer-based activity monitors.
“It’s important to ensure the continued development of innovative approaches to this increasingly important subject”, Professor Mills said.
The study will last two years, and commences this summer.