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Family Dog Might Make Teens More Active
Date:2/26/2011

s not the magic bullet."

However, neither dog owners nor non-owners got enough exercise to meet current guidelines, which suggest an hour of activity a day.

Still, teens with dogs were less sedentary than their peers without a four-legged friend, but it's unclear what specific role the dog might play. Sirard said it could be that teens walk the family dog or play with it. Or it may just be that families that are more active have more dogs.

Katherine D. Hoerster, a postdoctoral fellow at the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, who has studied dogs and exercise, said the ultimate goal is to get teens to be more active.

The study is "an important first step" in understanding whether it would be useful to try to encourage dog walking in young people, said Hoerster, who's familiar with the research findings.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about teens and exercise.

SOURCES: John Ronald Sirard, Ph.D., assistant professor, kinesiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; Katherine D. Hoerster, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, Seattle, Wash.; March 2011, American Journal of Preventive Medicine


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