An estimated 63 percent of American households have pets. That's about 75 million dogs and 85 million cats, in addition to the number of homes with birds, horses, reptiles, fish and other exotic animals [source: ASPCA]. And if you're like 90 percent of other pet owners, your pets are part of your family [source: McNicholas].
Pets improve the quality of our lives. They offer companionship, and they also offer increased opportunity for exercise and social interactions with other people -- all positive benefits that translate into better health for pet owners. Studies find that pet owners have lower blood pressure, better total cholesterol levels, and fewer feelings of depression and depressive episodes than people without pets.
Thinking of opening your home to a pet? Consider adopting: There are an estimated 6 to 8 million cats and dogs placed in shelters every year [source: The Humane Society].
- Administration on Aging. "Aging Statistics." 2010. (May 27, 2011) http://www.aoa.gov/aoaroot/aging_statistics/index.aspx
- American Academy of Periodontology. "Mouth-Body Connection." (May 27, 2011) http://www.perio.org/consumer/mbc.top2.htm
- American Cancer Society. "Controlling Portion Sizes." 2011. (May 27, 2011) http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/EatHealthyGetActive/TakeControlofYourWeight/controlling-portion-sizes
- ASPCA. "Pet Statistics." (May 27, 2011) http://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistics.aspx
- Britt, Robert Roy. "Live Longer: The One Anti-Aging Trick That Works." LiveScience. 2008. (May 27, 2011) http://www.livescience.com/2666-live-longer-anti-aging-trick-works.html
- CBS News. "Living to 100 Is Easier Than You Think" 2008. (May 27, 2011)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Deaths and Mortality." 2011. (May 27, 2011) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Health Benefits of Pets." 2010. (May 27, 2010) http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health_benefits.htm
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "How much physical activity do adults need?" 2011. (May 27, 2011) http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html
- Cleveland Clinic. "Heart and Vascular Health & Prevention." 2010. (May 27, 2011) http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/chocolate.aspx
- DeNoon, Daniel J. "A Dark Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away." WebMD. 2004. (May 27, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20040601/dark-chocolate-day-keeps-doctor-away
- Froeber, Jacquelyne. "Want to live longer? Cut back on red meat." CNN. 2009. (May 27, 2011) http://articles.cnn.com/2009-03-23/health/healthmag.red.meat.lifespan_1_red-meat-white-meat-mortality-risk?_s=PM:HEALTH
- Gisquet, Vanessa. "Ten ways to live longer." Forbes. 2005. (May 27, 2011) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7065794/ns/health-forbes_com/t/ten-ways-live-longer/
- Maloof, Rich. "Flossing." MSN Health. (May 27, 2011) http://health.msn.com/health-topics/oral-care/flossing?wa=wsignin1.0
- McNicholas, June; Gilbey, Andrew; Rennie, Anne; Ahmedzai, Sam; Dono, Jo-Ann; and Elizabeth Ormerod. "Pet ownership and human health: a brief review of evidence and issues. British Medical Journal. Vol. 331, no. 1252. 2005. (May 27, 2011) http://www.bmj.com/content/331/7527/1252.full
- Michaud, Chris. "Don't worry, be happy and live longer: scientific studies." Reuters. 2011. (May 27, 2011) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/01/us-happiness-idUSTRE72067Z20110301
- ScienceDaily. "Looking For The Fountain Of Youth? Cut Your Calories, Research Suggests." 2008. (May 27, 2011) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703113652.htm
- ScienceDaily. "Study Shows Brain Activity Influences Immune Function." 2003. (May 27, 2011) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030904080106.htm
- The Humane Society of the United States. "HSUS Pet Overpopulation Estimates." 2009. (May 27, 2011) http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/facts/overpopulation_estimates.html
5 Ways To Age Gracefully and Healthfully will show you healthy ways to age gracefully. Read on to discover 5 Ways To Age Gracefully and Healthfully.