Health and Fitness Tips

Dog Is An Obese Child’s Best Friend

Little girl playing with her dog The study published in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia said that overweight children could lose the pounds simply by owning a dog.

A team of scientists believes the battle of the bulge can be won not only with fresh fruit or strenuous exercise but with simple, playful activity with a four-legged friend. Young children who play with a family dog have been found to be up to 50 per cent less likely to be overweight or obese than those who do not have one.

The researchers, from Melbourne’s Deakin University, interviewed families of 1,100 children aged between five and 12 and discovered that those who owned a dog were in the best shape, even if they did not take it for regular walks.

‘Even playing incidentally with the dog helps children keep the weight off,’ said head researcher Associate Professor Jo Salmon.

‘We’ve always known that physical activity is the key to maintaining a healthy weight – but the results are likely to be the same if children own pets,’ she said.

‘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 the younger the child, the greater the benefit.

In the study group, 20 per cent of those who had a dog were overweight – but the percentage rose to 25 per cent among children who did not live with a pet. In the higher age group of 10 to 12 year old, 27 per cent who had a dog were overweight but this was lower than the 30 per cent who did not have a pet.

In Britain there are around one million obese children under the age of 16. Australia, with a population of 21 million, has around 200,000 obese children in the same age group. (dailymail)

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