Child obesity is a hot topic at the moment, with children spending more time playing video games and eating junk food than ever before. A new study in Australia however has discovered that the family dog could be the answer to keeping children fit and battling against child obesity.
The study, by Deakin University, discovered that children whose family have a pet dog are 50% less inclined to be obese when compared to other children who do not have a dog. The study also found that the children didn’t even need to walk the dog regularly, just having the dog in the home seemed to make a difference. The study looked at 1,100 children, aged between five and twelve, finding that children who had dogs were in better physical shape.
Jo Salmon was the lead researcher on the study, and she said that even just playing with the dog in the home was sufficient to help kids to stay fit.
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.
Social support for physical activity is vital, so this research suggests that the extended family network – not just parents and siblings but also dogs and [other] pets – is important for children’s health and their physical activity.
The effects of having a pet dog in the home are more prominent with young children under the age of ten, where only 20% of those who had a dog were overweight. 25% of young children who didn’t have a dog were overweight.
Does your family dog help to keep your children fit, or even to keep you fit?