Let’s Get WELLFLUENT: The Perks of Pets

(Courtesy: AvMed)

There’s a treatment to improve your physical and mental wellbeing that could already be under your roof—and it’s probably wagging its tail, swimming in circles, or meowing from the couch. Research indicates that pets have a positive influence on an owner’s overall wellbeing, from a decreased likelihood of a heart attack to a more active social life.

According to studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and National Institute of Health (NIH), pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which means a reduced risk of heart attack. Patients that do experience heart attacks demonstrate better recovery rates with pets than without. These heart-related benefits may be attributed to pets’ ability to reduce owners’ stress levels, or the physical activity that comes with owning a pet, such as walking it. In a study of more than 2,000 adults, those who walk their dogs are less likely to be obese than adults who either don’t walk their pets themselves or don’t own one at all.

“There’s strong evidence that owning a pet can help set people on a path toward being WELLfluent,” says Ana Eberhard, AvMed’s Vice President of Member Experience. “Being WELLfluent means being rich in what matters most: health and happiness. Study after study shows that pets offer constant companionship, which helps combat feelings of loneliness, and can boost your overall mood. Pets even provide an instant icebreaker, leading to more social interactions and improved socialization skills. For people who suffer from depression, pets give their owners a sense of purpose, a literal reason to get out of bed in the morning—someone’s got to feed and walk Toto.”

If you have or are thinking about having children, you may want to consider raising them alongside a furry (or scaly!) friend. Research on animals’ impact on child development have surprising findings: on a physical level, having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33%, according to research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Moreover, children exposed to animals early on have a tendency to develop stronger immune systems overall.

The effect of pets on child development goes beyond allergies. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a review of 22 studies which concluded that pets improve the psychological well-being of children, correlating with better self-esteem, cognitive development, and social skills.

Pets have simple relationships with humans: they know no judgements, no complications of life, and just unconditionally love and support their masters. We now know this love translates to WELLfluent benefits as well.

Let’s Get WELLfluent™ is part of AvMed’s drive to inspire focus on a different kind of riches; those fueled by health and happiness of the mind, body and soul.  With headquarters in Miami and offices in every major metropolitan area of the only state we have served in our near-50-year history, AvMed’s health plans seek to transform lives to create a WELLfluent world. To learn more follow AvMed on Facebook. 

Above content provided by AvMed.

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