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The effect of visiting zoos on human health and quality of life

Sakagami, Taketo, Ohta, Mitsuaki
Animal science journal = 2010 v.81 no.1 pp. 129-134
World Health Organization, blood pressure, heart rate, human health, human-animal relations, psychological stress, quality of life, questionnaires, zoos, Japan
The increased mental stress of daily life and aging of the population are serious matters in Japan. There are many studies regarding the effects of human-animal interactions on mental and physical human health, whereas there are few studies examining the effects of visiting zoos. To determine the effect of visiting zoos on human health and quality of life, two different zoos were visited by 70 participants in Experiment 1 and 163 participants in Experiment 2. In this study we administered the WHO QOL-26 questionnaire in Japanese to assess the psychological scales of participants, and blood pressures and pulse rates were measured to assess their physical scales. We also used pedometers to count the number of steps taken during zoo visits. Both zoo visits decreased blood pressure and participants demonstrated more than 6000 steps during each visit. The quality of life sub-scale scores were improved after zoo visits.