Pet dogs lower obesity in children, according to a study done by researchers of the University of London. With one third of American children being overweight or obese, health issues are a real concern for our youth, and owning a dog can play a real factor in helping kids maintain an active lifestyle.
The study, part of the Child Heart and Healthy study in England, involved over 2000 children ages 9 and 10, in which researchers monitored the children’s daily activity levels for a period of 7 days. They found that the children who owned dogs, (10% of those studied) averaged 5 hours of physical activity with their dogs, and were far less sedentary in lifestyle than the remaining children who did not own pets. The activity levels of the children who owned dogs varied from moderate to vigorous play, and the researchers attributed the owning of the pets to be the reason for their healthy weight.
The study suggests that owning a dog can have a positive impact on children’s lives by keeping sedentary kids away from the TV and video games and spending more time playing with their dogs or walking them instead. With childhood obesity in America being 4 times what it was 60 years ago, and many overweight children being at risk for type 2 diabetes, perhaps owning a dog would inspire more physical activity in children to keep them healthy into their adult years. The study also recommends a healthier diet for children as well.