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The Best Pet for your Health

based on 5 ratings
Author: Megan Doyle

Grade Level: 9th-12th Type: Social Science

Objective:

The objective of this experiment is to determine whether certain types of animals provide greater physical and mental health benefits to their owners.

Research Questions:

  • Which pet owners have the lowest blood pressure level?
  • Which pet owners have the healthiest body mass index (BMI)?
  • Which pet owners have the lowest anxiety level?

Studies indicate that pets provide certain health benefits to their owners. Animals can help you lower your blood pressure, decrease your level of anxiety, and increase your physical activity. This experiment will evaluate which types of pets provide the greatest physical and mental health benefits.

Materials:

  • Test subjects that own only one type of pet (20 cat owners, 20 dog owners, 20 fish owners, etc)
  • Penn State Worry Questionnaire
  • Blood pressure monitor
  • Chart displaying low, normal and high blood pressure ranges
  • Scale
  • Measuring tape
  • BMI calculator
  • BMI classification information for underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese adults
  • Notebook for recording and analyzing results

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Find adult owners of each type of pet that you choose to study. Make sure that each participant only owns one type of animal. Do not include test subjects that take medication to control anxiety, depression or blood pressure.
  2. Using your blood pressure monitor, measure and record the blood pressure of each participant in each test group.
  3. Measure the height and weight of each test subject, and calculate BMI.
  4. Ask each test subject to take the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Analyze and record the results.
  5. Evaluate the data that you gathered from each group of pet owners.
  • What percentage of dog owners have a blood pressure reading in the “normal” range? How does this compare with the blood pressure readings from the owners of other types of animals?
  • What percentage of cat owners have a BMI that falls within the "normal" range? How does this compare with the BMIs that you calculated for the owners of other types of animals?
  • What is the average Penn State Worry Questionaire score for each of your test groups? Does one group of pet owners have lower anxiety compared to the other groups?

Terms/Concepts: pet ownership, blood pressure, body mass index, Penn State Worry Questionnaire

References:

WebMD.com. “5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health.”

OutcomeTracker.org. The Penn State Worry Questionnaire.

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