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Pet Care Linked to Glycemic Control

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  • Pet Care Linked to Glycemic Control

    Children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes who have lower HbA1c levels are more likely to take responsible care of a household pet vs. children with poorer glycemic control, recent study findings show.

    In a case-control study, Louise Maranda, PhD, assistant professor at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Olga T. Gupta, MD, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics and internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, analyzed data from 223 children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (53.8% boys; mean age, 15 years) recruited from the pediatric diabetes clinic at University of Massachusetts Medical School. Participants who met target HbA1c levels as defined by the American Diabetes Association were considered cases (n = 34; aged 6-12 years, target HbA1c ≤ 8%; aged 13-19 years, target HbA1c ≤ 7.5%); all other participants were considered controls (n = 189). Participants completed a questionnaire regarding pet ownership (type, frequency and duration of care offered). They were classified as having no pet, a pet with which they had little interaction or high involvement with a pet. Within the high involvement group, a distinction was made between ownership of a dog and that of other animals. Participants also completed the self-management of type 1 diabetes assessment. Researchers controlled for age, race and duration of disease.

    Louise Maranda

    Within the cohort, 46.7% owned one pet; 53.3% owned two or more pets. Dogs were the most popular pet (60.6%), followed by cats (50.6%), rodents (8.3%), fish (7.2%), reptiles (7.2%), birds (6.7%) and amphibians (1.1%). Of the 110 participants classified as having a high level of involvement in family pet care, 76 (69.1%) reported their main pet was a dog.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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