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Fido Helps Kids Fight Obesity

Here's a great story about a study done in Australia showing kids with dogs were in better shape than those without. As experts grapple with...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Oct 13th 2008


Here’s a great story about a study done in Australia showing kids with dogs were in better shape than those without.

As experts grapple with Australia’s escalating childhood obesity epidemic, new research has found owning a pet could keep children slim and healthy.

A Deakin University study found that young children who own a dog are less likely to be overweight or obese compared with those who do not have one in the family home.

The study of more than 1100 children aged five to 12 found they were in much better shape if they had a dog, even if they did not walk it regularly.

Head researcher, Associate Professor Jo Salmon, said the findings suggest even incidental play with the dog helped children keep the weight off. She said physical activity was the key to maintaining a healthy weight and the results were likely to be the same if children owned other pets such as cats or rabbits.

I would think this would apply to anyone, young and old, who has a dog. I know it gets Lisa and I to the park everyday, even when we don’t feel like it.

“For parents who are trying to get their kids off the computer and switching off the TV and getting out and playing, having a pet might be a really good strategy for doing that,” Professor Salmon said. “Social support for physical activity is vital, so this research suggests the extended family network – not just parents and siblings but also dogs and pets – is important for children’s health and their physical activity.”

Do you find your owner being more active thanks to you? Give me a bark.

* Click on the pic above and you can visit Pop, he’s Bo’s good buddy. Pop has a two-legged sister who takes him for walks in the woods.