Proof dogs are a GIRL’S best friend! Why going for walkies help young girls enjoy more active lives

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Young girls who have a pet dog spend almost an hour extra a day being active, research suggests.

Researchers followed 600 children, aged between two and seven, over three years.

Half the children had no dog at any point in the study period, 204 had a dog for the entire three years, 58 acquired a dog during the study period, and 31 children lost a dog over the course of the study.

The time they spent sedentary, on screens and physically active was measured using accelerometers – small devices worn on the hip during waking hours. 

The study, from the University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth , found that girls who acquired a dog increased their light intensity activities and games by 52 minutes a day (stock image) 

Researchers followed 600 children, aged between two and seven, over three years (stock image)

 Researchers followed 600 children, aged between two and seven, over three years (stock image) 

The study, from the University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, found that girls who acquired a dog increased their light intensity activities and games by 52 minutes a day, and girls who lost a dog decreased the same activities by 62 minutes a day.

The figures were lower – but still significant – for the boys taking part.

Lead researcher Emma Adams said: ‘Our findings indicate that having a dog in the family could help promote healthy movement behaviours in children and reduce their risk of chronic disease.’

PerthWestern Australia

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