Teens Who Own Dogs Exercise More, Study Says
Dogs are considered man's best friend, but now there's another reason to love your pooch. A new study shows that teens who own dogs get more exercise than those who don't.
According to MSNBC, the study, which will be published in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, says that teens in dog-owning families average 15 more minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise than teens from families without dogs.
The study involved 618 pairs of Minneapolis teens and their parents, surveying them about the number of dogs they had and what their physical activity level was. Data was collected from 318 teens, who wore accelerometers for one week. The device looks like a watch and detects when the body is moving.
Sure enough, teens with dogs logged more physical activity on the accelerometers, despite demographic factors like gender, race and socioeconomic status. Researchers expected the dog walking duties to be done by the parents, but were surprised to see that the teens took on the responsibility.
Although there's a definite link between owning a dog and increased exercise levels, researchers are unable to confirm that having a pup would encourage physical activity. In fact, it may just be that those with an active lifestyle choose to have dogs.
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