I read in K9 Magazine Online about a small research that was done at the University of Minnesota to focus on the physical effects dogs have on kids. The research was simple, they had 618 kids ranging between the ages of 12-16 years old wear accelerometers for a week to measure their physical activity. Half the families of the kids had dogs and half did not.
I'm sure it is not that big of a surprise to know that the kids in families with dogs got more exercise. The surprise to me was that the numbers were not that far apart. The kids with dogs averaged 32.1 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day, whereas the kids without dogs averaged 29.5 minutes. I would've thought the numbers would've been more wide spread.
The research is likely to be just the beginning of a larger study. This was a simple research that focused on only one thing, the exercise a child gets by having a dog. However, there are other researchers at other Universities that would like to take the research further because the research didn't take into account the size or breed of the dog, the safety of the neighborhoods where the families lived or the level of attachment the kids had to the pets.
Whatever new research comes from this, it will be interesting to see all the additional benefits of having a dog besides the amazing amount of love they give us.
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