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Age modifies the association between pet ownership and cardiovascular disease

By K. M. Watson, K. Kahe, T. A. Shier, M. Li

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Studies examining associations between pet ownership and cardiovascular disease have yielded inconsistent results. These discrepancies may be partially explained by variations in age and sex across study populations. Our study included 6,632 American Gut Project participants who are US residents ≥40 years. METHODS: We first estimated the association of pet ownership with cardiovascular disease risk using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression, and further investigated effect modifications of age and sex. RESULTS: Cat but not dog ownership was significantly associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk (OR: 0.56 [0.42, 0.73] and OR: 1.17 [0.88, 1.39], respectively). Cat and dog ownership significantly interacted with age but not sex, indicating that cardiovascular risk varies by the age-by-pet ownership combination. Compared to the reference group (40-64 years, no cat or dog), participants 40-64 years with only a cat had the lowest cardiovascular disease risk (OR: 0.40 [0.26, 0.61]). Those ≥65 years with no pets had the highest risk (OR: 3.85 [2.85, 5.24]). DISCUSSION: This study supports the importance of pets in human cardiovascular health, suggesting optimal pet choice is age-dependent. Having both a cat and dog can be advantageous to people ≥65 years, while having only a cat may benefit those 40-64 years. Further studies are needed to assess causality.

Date 2023
Publication Title Front Vet Sci
Volume 10
Pages 1168629
ISBN/ISSN 2297-1769 (Print)2297-1769
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2023.1168629
Author Address Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, United States.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, United States.Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, United States.Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Bloomington, IN, United States.
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Age
  2. Aging
  3. Cardiovascular diseases
  4. Conflict
  5. Human-animal bond
  6. One Health
  7. open access
  8. Pet ownership
Badges
  1. open access