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Pause for Paws: How Rescue Dogs Cut Down Kids' Screen Time

Updated: Feb 17





 

A recent study is providing scientific proof of something that many parents have known all along: owning a (rescue) dog increases a child's activity levels.


But what may be new to most moms and dads is that the earlier children -- especially girls -- are connected with dogs the more significant the benefits of physical activity.


The study titled, "Longitudinal Effects of Dog Ownership, Dog Acquisition, and Dog Loss on Children’s Movement Behaviors," was published in January in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.


Researchers studied daily physical activity, sedentary time, sleep and screen time of children between the ages of 2 and 7. They grouped the children into four categories: non-dog owners, continuing dog owners, new dog owners and owners who lost dogs.


They found that girls whose families acquired dogs increased their physical activity by 52 minutes a day while girls who lost a dog decreased their physical activity by more than an hour a day. Girls and boys who acquired a dog increased their unstructured physical activity by 6.8 and 7 times per week.


In addition, the study found that girls with new canine companions engaged in nearly 100 minutes more physical activity per day compared to their peers who no longer had a dog. Boys with a dog averaged about 30 minutes more daily light physical activity.

For parents who are looking for ways to get their kids off their screens and moving, dog ownership is definitely barking up the right tree!

 




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