As if dogs didn't do enough to bring love and loyality into a home, it turns out they also help keep your kids fit.  

According to a new study out of University of Virginia, teens from dog-owning families get about 15 extra minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity than teens who don't have any pets.

For the study, which will be published in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, UVA researchers talked to 618 pairs of Minneapolis kids and their parents about the number of dogs in their home, and how much time they spent doing physical activities. For one week, 318 of those kids also wore accelerometers, devices that measure activity.

So is it that the teens actually walked the dog (like they promised when they first got the dog?)  Maybe or maybe not.  According to the study, just having a dog prompted more activity because of the care and chores required to care for him (like getting up to feed him, cleaning up after him, etc.) Teens who walked and played with their dogs too got an even bigger fitness boost.  

Who needs a personal trainer when you have Fido around to keep the family fit?

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