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Dog-walking programs for kids could promote exercise and weight loss

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Romping with a pet dog and walking it several times a day can get children on their feet and help bring them more in line with the minimum recommendation of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous daily exercise, according to kinesiologists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. A preliminary study found that about 20% of children's daily physical activity came from time spent in close proximity with the family dog. The researchers are now conducting a larger study to include a more diverse population. If the research continues to show that dogs have a positive impact on the physical activity of children, dog-walking programs could be implemented in animal shelters or after-school programs to expand access to the benefits of hanging out with a dog.

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