New studies suggest children with dogs are actually more active than children of families without.
Researchers from St. George’s University of London analyzed activity in 2,065 children between the ages of 9 and 10 for one week. These children attended 78 different schools in Birmingham, London, and Leicester. Of the children analyzed, 202 had families with dogs.
The study concluded dog owners spent 11 more minutes doing physical activity per day than children without (325 minutes to 314 minutes). Also, 360 additional steps were taken by children with families that owned pets than those without.
Researchers are discussing whether or not the dog helps the family to be active, or if a family that enjoys being active will decide to own a dog. Longer-term studies need to be performed to adequately answer that question.
Promising, however, is the ability to encourage your children to be more active. If you own a pet, suggesting they take the dog for a walk may provide the 30-60 minutes of exercise your child needs.