The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) announced today that it has awarded a $27,000 grant to Lincoln Memorial University for a study titled “Measuring the Impact of a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship Between Pet Owners and Their Pets.” This research project will analyze data collected via a series of public health fairs and will develop a general model of health and wellness behavior to examine the relationship between the health of humans and their pets and whether patterns of health and health-associated behaviors are similar. It is anticipated that the model will help determine that pets share the same health benefits and risks as their owners.
“Healthy pets make healthy people,” said Steve Feldman, executive director of HABRI. “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.”
The one-year pilot study will aim to obtain data sufficient to describe the current state of health and health associated behaviors in pet owner-pet pairs in the Cumberland Gap Region (CGR) of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Health metric data including body weight, heart rate, blood pressure and height will be collected for 300 human subjects and their pet dogs or cats through conducting a series of public health fairs. The investigators seek to use the data to formulate a general model of health and health associated behavior.
“Few studies have simultaneously investigated the health and health promoting behaviors of owners and pets,” said Dr. Charles Faulkner, an associate professor of veterinary medicine at Lincoln Memorial University and a principal investigator in the study. “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. This is especially important in a geographic region where residents rank at the bottom in health outcomes for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and lack of physical activity.”