Man’s best friend is thought to have greater benefits to human health than first thought, according to researchers at the University of Sydney.
Greek-born Manos Stamatakis is leading the research team which is aiming to settle what he says are existing “fragmented results” from previous studies into human-dog relations.
While his work is yet to yield any results, he stresses the research he will undertake will draw its conclusions from multi-disciplinary perspectives, including those from veterinarians and psychologists.
“What we’re trying to do is put together a co-ordinated program, so it’s a long term vision, with sound scientific methodologies, to understand better what the things are that impact on someone’s life when buying a dog,” he told Neos Kosmos.
The studies will focus on three elements; the impact of dog ownership on exercise and physical health; social connections and human-to-human contact; and direct psychological benefits – incorporating motion senses to monitor physical and psychological parameters.
“Based on existing nationwide data it looks like 40 to 50 per cent of households who own dogs don’t walk dogs, and in many ways this is a lost opportunity – about 60 per cent of Australians are inactive, so they miss the opportunity to use their walking engines.”
“We know dogs give people unconditional acceptance, love and loyalty – things humans find difficult to find in other humans these days because we are living in an increasingly solitary, individualistic world.”
Stamatakis couldn’t reveal an end date to his research, but expects initial results by mid-2016.