Health Benefits of Owning a Pet: Children's Author Speaks Out

Published: 05th February 2010
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Children's author, researcher, and humanitarian, Tina Turbin (http://TinaTurbin), celebrated for her children's series, Danny the Dragon, has emerged as a leading spokesperson for children's issues and health issues. In her book tours and volunteer work with children, Tina is often approached by parents and educators and asked for tips on how to raise healthy kids. Recently she spoke out about an usual but important health topic -- how pets help keep children healthy.

Tina is especially well-known for her work in raising awareness and support for celiac disease. The disease, which is caused by an allergic reaction to gluten, a component of wheat, barley, and rye, is treated by simply deleting this protein from their diets. Tina often focuses her research and volunteer work on helping celiac children. However, her children's health advocacy isn't limited to celiac disease; she works hard to alert parents to children's health risks and give them ideas on how to boost their children's health. What's her latest piece of advice? "Get your young children pets," she says.

"Anyone who has children knows how important pets are, and statistics confirm this," Tina says. According to Gail F. Melson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of developmental studies at Purdue University and the author of Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children, 4 out of 10 children start off in a family with pets, and 90 percent of children will live with a pet sometime during their childhood. Now studies are showing that pets also have a crucial impact on increasing the health of children.

Research confirms that having multiple pets can decrease the risk in children of developing certain allergies. According to a study by Dr. Dennis Ownby, a pediatrician and head of the allergy and immunology department of the Medical College of Georgia, children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop common allergies as kids who had no pets in the home. Children with animals had fewer positive skin tests to indoor allergens, such as pet and dust mite allergies, and also to outdoor allergens, such as ragweed and grass. Other studies have suggested that early exposure to animals in the home may decrease children's risk of developing asthma.

Tina says that so far no one knows for sure the reason behind this. Dr. Ownby suspects it's because when animals lick children, they transfer bacteria from the animals' mouths, and these bacteria may alter the way the child's immune system responds to other allergens.

With this data concerning the positive impact of owning animals on your children's health, and with the many other benefits of pet-owning, such as companionship and safety, Tina counsels parents not to miss out on this valuable opportunity and to bring home a pet today.

For more information on Tina Turbin, visit Wiseman is an avid and intelligent writer and researcher in the Humanities, Arts and Sciences. Wiseman is always on a quest to expand his horizons and those of others via his written and spoken words.

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