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We just ran across this article while visiting www.animalshelter.org  If you are considering getting a family pet, this is good information.

Pet Dogs Lower The Risk Of Obesity In Children 

The researchers from St. George’s University in London have recently reported that children have a lower risk of becoming obese if they own a pet dog. Obese children have a higher risk of developing chronic health problems among which high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or bone and joint problems are just a few. 

The study involved more than 2000 children aged 9 and 10, who were monitored over a period of seven days. 10% of the children involved in the study had pet dogs. The results showed that pet owners spent more than five hours involved in physical activities each day. As a consequence, they had less sedentary behavior and were involved in light, moderate and even vigorous activities and their active lifestyles
showed positive results on their weight. 

The study was part of the Child Heart and Health Study in England and was also published in the American Journal of Public Health. Long term studies are necessary to consolidate the data obtained through this study. Other studies have only compared adult activity levels but they also showed that people became more active after they decided to have a dog. 

Approximately one third of children and teenagers in the USA are overweight or might very likely become so as it is reported by governmental data. Obesity can decrease life expectancy by two to five years. The rate of childhood obesity is three to four times greater than in the 1960s. Some of the children that are obese can acquire type 2 diabetes. The two main causes for this alarming percent are considered to be poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. 

Unfortunately, it’s not just our children who are affected by the rise in obesity numbers. Overweight dogs are also more and more numerous. And just as obesity is detrimental to us humans, it increases health risk for our dogs as well. Obese dogs will more likely develop heart disease, respiratory problems or high blood pressure. They are also more prone to diabetes, skin problems and arthritis. And dogs become overweight because they are pampered by their owners. With so many treats available for our beloved pets, and too little time to provide them with the exercise they need, we are condemning them to the same risk as we do with our children. 

With our children spending more and more time in front of computer or TV screens, owning a dog might be a useful solution to fight obesity. Dogs love being taken out for walks and even if you do not own a dog, you might just join someone who does during their daily walk.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chr1sp/2722402843/ 
 


Comments

Maggie's Mom, THE LADY
10/21/2010 07:40

I was surprised to see that, on average, the children in the study spent five hours a day engaged in activity with their dog. Even if this is overstated, it seems like having a dog can be a great exercise motivator. I know that it is for me!

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Good post. It is very interesting. Thanks!

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