Fat Dogs, Fat Owners?

Articles
January 11, 2010

Fat Dogs, Fat Owners?

he January 2010 issue of Public Health Nutrition, a journal published by Cambridge University, featured a study that set out to explain a possible link between overweight pets, specifically dogs and cats and their owners.

The January 2010 issue of Public Health Nutrition, a journal published by Cambridge University, featured a study that set out to explain a possible link between overweight pets, specifically dogs and cats and their owners. According to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, 67% of Americans over twenty are considered overweight or obese. Environmental factors and attitudes about food intake and physical activity have changed drastically over the past few decades, leaving us in a more sedentary, high-fat, energy dense environment where frankly, it's just to easy to overeat.

The Dutch researchers set out to understand the link between the body mass index (BMI) of dogs and cats and their owners, as "pets and their owners have no genetic relationship, and pets are, with regard to their food and lifestyle, dependent on their owners' attitudes and behavior, [therefore] the relationship between the weight of owners and their pets [should] provide information about the effect of individual attitudes and behavior on body weight"

A correlation between overweight pets and their owners in essence represents the impact of environment on body weight, studies can give a quantitative indication of the environmental component of the causes of obesity.

The study found that the weight of dog owners (not cat!) is correlated to the weight of their pets, thus giving indication of the impact of environmental factors such as personal attitudes and behavior concerning food and physical activity.  Body mass indices of cats and their owners were proven independent in this study and the researchers believe this is because cats are able to spend time outside where they exercise independently of their owners.  

Supermarketguru.com believes this is the perfect opportunity for supermarkets to spruce up the pet aisle, think cross promotion, end caps that include healthy treats for dogs and healthy snack ideas for their owners.  Customers are sure to respond well and will appreciate that their local market has their best health interests in mind.

Its time we stop blaming the 'fat gene' rename our skinny jeans, (they should just be called jeans), and acknowledge that we need to rethink our lifestyles if we want to tackle the weight problem.