In a recent article to medical doctors, John Marshall MD wrote that he often prescribes a dog to patients for improvement of cancer outcomes. He was talking about a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that followed 2,300 people with invasive nonmetastatic colorectal cancer and found that 150 minutes of physical activity per week (i.e. walking) improves outcomes.(1) Dr. Marshall is probably aware of the studies showing people with dogs are more likely to lose weight, have better cardiovascular health on average, and are more likely to stick with walking routines.(2) People with exercise partners in general exercise more, and dogs make great partners because they never tell you they have to work late. But don’t expect your insurance to pay for a dog, warns Dr. Marshall.
- Campbell P, Patel A, Newton C, et al. Associations of recreational physical activity and leisure time spent sitting with colorectal cancer survival. J Clin Oncol. 2013; 31: 876-885.
- Kushner R, Blatner D, Jewell D, et al. The PPET Study: People an pets exercising together. Obesity. 2006; 14 (10): 1762-1770