Walk your pooch, lose pounds

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: January 13th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Trying to lose weight…. and think you’ve tried everything? How about sleeping more and dieting with your dog?

A Columbia University study found the less you sleep, the more likely you’ll gain weight. How much we sleep and the risk of being obese are closely linked.

In the study, participants ages thirty-two to fifty-nine who slept four hours or less a night were seventy-three percent more likely to be obese than those who slept seven to nine hours. People who slept only five hours had a fifty percent higher risk… and those with six hours of shut-eye were just twenty-three percent more likely to be overweight.

Other research has shown that people and pets that exercise and diet together are both more likely to stick to a weight-loss program.

In the yearlong study, Northwestern University researchers looked at three groups of overweight participants… a dog-and-owner group, a dog-only group and a people-only group. They compared weight-loss and weight-maintenance success for the dog-only and people-only groups with the combined dog-and-owner group. Dog owners who dieted alongside their pets did slightly better than their dog-less counterparts.

During the study, both people and dogs lost weight and kept it off, with people losing an average of eleven pounds and dogs an average of twelve. Researchers say participants gained the confidence and motivation to stick to a diet and exercise strategy.

No research yet on letting a sleeping dog lie. For now, catch some extra winks… and walk a dog.