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BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

Dog owners get more exercise -- provided they actually walk their dogs -- a study finds

March 14, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
(Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images )

There are many reasons to get a dog (because your kid keeps bugging you for one?) but becoming more healthy doesn't usually top the list. Maybe it should. A new study finds that dog owners not only get more exercise by walking their dogs but they tend to be more active overall. 

The study examined 5,902 responses from the 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. Of the 41 percent who were dog owners, 61 percent of respondents said they walked their dogs at least 10 minutes at a time and 27 percent said they walked their dogs at least 150 minutes a week. The study appears in the March issue of the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.

So maybe encouraging people to get dogs could be part of the solution to America's obesity crisis. Except for another study released last year. Veterinarians said about 45 percent of the dogs they treated were considered obese.

Clearly there needs to be a lot more walking for dogs and dog owners. And really, what's the alternative?

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