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Bring your furry best friend to work this June to help your heart!

DALLAS, June 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This June, the American Heart Association, the world's leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, is launching Best Friend Fridays™, an initiative that celebrates happy minds and healthy hearts one pet parent at a time. As if pet parents needed more reason to brag about their furry friends – studies show that pets may be good for their health. According to a scientific statement by the American Heart Association, pets may help their owners get more exercise, may lower blood pressure and cholesterol and boost happiness1. Not only that, pets at work may help reduce stress, increase productivity and improve employee satisfaction, teamwork and collaboration2. This initiative encourages employers to designate one or all Fridays in June as Best Friend Fridays™ when employees can bring their pets to work and donate to support important heart research and education – for humans – at BestFriendFridays.heart.org.

"Pet companionship is associated with overall better health and wellbeing," said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. "According to our research, pet companionship may lead to a more active lifestyle, lower blood pressure and reduced stress at home, in the workplace and when managing medical challenges. That's why the American Heart Association is creating Best Friend Fridays™. We're bringing awareness to the positive impact our four-legged friends have on our hearts and our minds."

Companies everywhere can join the American Heart Association in the fight to lick heart disease and stroke by supporting Best Friend Fridays™ this June in the following ways:

  • DONATE Ask your employer to celebrate Best Friend Fridays™ this June. Bring your pet to work and give $25, $55 or $505 in honor of your heart's best friend. Your gift will support important heart research and education (for humans). That's a high-five for heart health!
  • GET SOCIAL When you bring your pet to work on Best Friend Fridays™, post a selfie of you and your heart's best friend to spread the word using #BestFriendFridays.
  • TAKE IT OUTSIDE If your company does not have pets at work yet, find a park where you and your pet can meet up with other pet parents in your company! It could be a whole new way to make new friends with your best friend.

"Many studies have explored the relationship between pet ownership and cardiovascular disease and reported a number of beneficial effects," said Glenn N. Levine, M.D.; FAHA; FACC; Master Clinician and Professor of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine; Director, Cardiac Care Unit, Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center; American Heart Association volunteer and author of the organization's scientific statement on pet ownership. "The American Heart Association reviewed available data and found that pet ownership may lead to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Though additional research is clearly needed on this important topic, pet owners may have another reason to brag about their furry friends – the possibility of our pets contributing to happy minds and healthy hearts."

Pets may do more than help you stress less at work. Overall, pet parents tend to live longer than non-pet owners3 and dog parents are more likely to fit in the recommended level of physical activity than those who don't have a dog4. Pets also add an element of companionship – letting you know you are not alone and providing social support – an important factor in helping you stick with healthy habits5.

To celebrate the good that Fido, Fluffy and pets everywhere do for their owners, pet parents can make a donation to support the ongoing fight against heart disease in their pet's name at BestFriendFridays.heart.org. To learn more about Best Friend Fridays or about the possible health benefits of owning a pet, visit BestFriendFridays.heart.org.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries: 
Leslie Holland: leslie.holland@heart.org
Kelsey Walters: kelsey.walters@heart.org

For Public Inquiries:
1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
heart.org and strokeassociation.org

1Glenn N. Levine, Karen Allen, Lynne T. Braun, Hayley E. Christian, Erika Friedmann, Kathryn A. Taubert, Sue Ann Thomas, Deborah L. Wells, and Richard A. Lange and on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology and Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing. "Pet Ownership and Cardiovascular Risk: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association," Circulation 11 (Jun 2013) Link
2
"Workplace Wellness," Human Animal Bond Research Institute. Link
3Mwenya Mubanga, Liisa Byberg, Christoph Nowak, Agneta Egenvall, Patrik K. Magnusson, Erik Ingelsson, Tove Fall.  "Article number: 15821 (2017) 10.1038_s41598-017-16118-6.ris," Scientific Reports 7. Link
4Yu-Tzu Wu, Robert Luben, Andy Jones. "Dog ownership supports the maintenance of physical activity during poor weather in older English adults: cross-sectional results from the EPIC Norfolk cohort," Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 71:9. Link 
5
Glenn N. Levine, Karen Allen, Lynne T. Braun, Hayley E. Christian, Erika Friedmann, Kathryn A. Taubert, Sue Ann Thomas, Deborah L. Wells, and Richard A. Lange and on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology and Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing. "Pet Ownership and Cardiovascular Risk: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association," Circulation 11 (Jun 2013) Link

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SOURCE American Heart Association