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Study On Dogs Sheds Some Light On Our Weight Problems

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A recent study shows that overweight dogs are pretty much the same with overweight humans. This gives a new light in understanding obesity, one of the biggest health issues today.

While some people irk at the thought of comparing humans with dogs, it certainly is not illogical to do so after a group of researchers from Budapest, Hungary, found out the man's best friend can be used to further study human's obesity.

Participants were requested to bring their pets and have these segregated, whether they are well on the average weight range or on the overweight side. These dogs were then initially offered a bowl of either "low-value" food, sometimes containing nothing or less attractive or tasty food, or a "high-value" food, meaning delicious, yummy meals.

Unexpected Results

Owners were asked to have their dogs commanded to wait for the second bowl to arrive before the pets start munching to see how the animals would weigh in on which food to devour. The scientists from ELTE University weren't expecting what unfolded before their eyes.

"We expected the overweight dog to do anything to get food, but in this test, we saw the opposite. The overweight dogs took a negative view," Orsolya Torda said.

It was expected that the overweight dogs would wait or do anything just to get the tastier meal, but they were proven wrong. This means that the obese animals, if faced with a situation that will require them to look for food, wouldn't budge, as they would rather opt for the food that is readily available to them and would not require much energy to get regardless if it's tasty or not.

As soon as these obese animals saw the food, regardless if it looked appetizing nor filling, they ate them. Meanwhile, those dogs that have normal weight tended to wait for their owners' instructions before heading to check on the second bowl. For the obese ones, they stopped following their masters after a while.

"In our study, dogs proved to be a useful model species to test characteristic patterns of food responsiveness in normal and overweight subjects, showing similar strategies to those expected from human subjects," the study concluded.

Now, how can this be likened to human obesity? Well, the researchers argued that most obese, whether dogs or human, showed "attraction towards energy-dense foods." However, obesity is a complex issue that might probably need more tests and experiments, so hopefully, this study is just one to spark other studies.

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