Kids' Best Friend?
Having a pet dog in the house may not make children more active or help with weight loss, but could reduce their anxiety. During routine doctor visits, researchers surveyed parents of 370 children ages 4 to 10 with a dog and 273 same-age kids without. They found no differences in body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height), physical activity levels, or screen time. But, even after accounting for family income, the kids with dogs had significantly lower scores on a measure of anxiety: Just 12 percent scored a level of concern compared with 21 percent of those without dogs. Researchers believe that interacting with dogs could help children form emotional bonds or raise feel-good hormone levels.
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease, published online Nov. 25, 2015