Worried about kids getting fat? Maybe get a dog



Ow­en and col­leagues stud­ied 2,065 chil­dren aged nine to ten from schools in Lon­don, Bir­ming­ham and Leices­ter, U.K. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors used ac­ti­vity mon­i­tors to rec­ord the chil­dren’s daily move­ment lev­els over sev­en days.

About one in ten of the young­sters had dogs, and these chil­dren spent an av­er­age of 325 min­utes do­ing phys­i­cal ac­ti­vity per day, the re­search­ers re­ported. These chil­dren were al­so found to take 360 more steps, or four pe­rcent, on aver­age than dog­less kids.

“Is it that own­ing a dog makes you more ac­tive or that more ac­tive fam­i­lies choose to have a dog? It’s a bit of a chick­en and egg ques­tion. Long-term stud­ies are needed to an­swer it,” Ow­en said. “Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have com­pared adult ac­ti­vity lev­els be­fore and af­ter get­ting a dog, and found that they do be­come more ac­tive af­terwards.”

via Worried about kids getting fat? Maybe get a dog.

Let’s put it this way, if your family gets a dog, SOMEONE will be getting more physical exercise. Whether or not it’s the kids will have a lot to do with how much they’re either drawn or compelled to be involved in the general responsibilities of dog ownership. But either way, you’re helping your family stay fit, and, you have the opportunity to rescue a dog. For maximum exercise (and charitability), of course, I’d strongly recommend rescuing a pit bull, provided you have the means of providing it with a safe and healthy home. Obviously, make sure you get one that isn’t aggressive ahead of time, as I’d hate to have my advice just reinforce negative stereotypes, but in general, they are some of the friendliest, loyal, and obedient dogs I know, and of course have a TON of energy, and are unfortunately put down at a rate of about 4/5 out of those that end up in shelters. If you’re worried about the aggression (who wouldn’t be after all the media spin?) I’d strongly recommend stopping by your local animal shelter and having a talk with one of the employees, and perhaps meeting one of the nicer pits for yourself (generally, it’s probably best to avoid those with cropped ears — cropped ears are generally a sign of a dog intended for fighting). I can almost guarantee you’ll fall in love on the spot. Just try to avoid the urge to bring home all of them…you don’t need THAT much exercise.


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