Have you ever thought that extra weight on your body has something in common with overweight dogs? A team of Hungarian researchers have just discovered two traits that obese people and fat dogs share, with the latter being really helpful to us. By studying them, researchers might use dogs to better understand human obesity.
Overweight dogs perceive food as a reward
Although it sounds unlikely, overweight dogs and people are pretty similar from a psychological point of view. According to the researchers, both prefer good food, which sounds natural. However, whenever there is another option of food of poor quality, they tend to refuse in favor of the better version.
At first, researchers assumed that overweight dogs would eat any kind of food, so they ran a few experiments. They filled two bowls with food of good and of poorer quality, and then had several dogs eat it. Dogs with a regular weight checked the second bowl after they finished the first, while the overweight ones refused it after consuming the good food.
Overweight dogs and people might share some psychological traits
Researchers explained the behavior as such. Overweight dogs want the best food without spending too much effort. If they have to move to a second bowl with poor quality food, they prefer not to do the effort at all. In fact, these dogs perceive this food as a reward, and people might exhibit the same behavior.
Obesity is probably the biggest problem among Americans. The CDC reports from 2015 and 2016 showed around 93.3 percent of Americans struggling with obesity. This situation is extremely serious, as the condition can lead to other diseases and premature mortality.
The research on overweight dogs offered an insight on the psychology behind obesity. Methods like healthy diets and physical exercise can help a person lose weight. However, they become a lot more effective if you work on the psychological domain. The study was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
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