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Dogs, Owners Lose Weight Together

For those who believe, as Andy Rooney does, "The average dog is a nicer person than the average person," you may find some solace and a good helpmate in your journey toward optimal health from your dog.

The year-long People and Pets Exercising Together (P-PET) study, conducted by Northwesterrn University and a pet food company, found people and their dogs were both more successful in staying with a weight loss program when they exercised together for a year.

It's not surprising that along with more than 60 percent of adult Americans now tipping the scales in the overweight or obese range, an estimated 30 million cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese too, or about 25 percent of the pet population!

Over the course of the 12-month study, both people and dogs lost weight and kept it off. People lost an average of 11 pounds (about 5 percent of their initial body weight) and dogs dropped about 12 pounds (some 15 percent of their initial body weight). The maximum weight loss for dogs was 35 pounds and for people it was 51 pounds.

Overall, the combined dog/owner weight loss program was found to be more effective at maintaining participation than the program in which dogs dieted alone. Two-thirds of the increase in physical activity in the combined dog/owner group was made by engaging in dog-related activities.

EurekAlert November 15, 2004

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